OPPOSITION leaders have slammed city transport chiefs after thousands of drivers were hit with delays at three major junctions.

Traffic has been brought to a standstill while "substantial" and emergency works have been carried out within miles of each other.

As reported works to rectify subsidence underneath Millbrook roundabout will be taking place until April 2019.

On Tuesday emergency works to repair a gas leak on the Totton bypass left one lane closed for 24 hours.

Now Scottish and Southern Electricity say they are unable to give an end date for emergency works underneath Western Esplanade - but a spokesperson for the Perth and Reading-based company said works are "on track."

They added: "They are still going to plan. We do want to keep disruption to a minimum. "We are aware that there are other roadworks going on. In other circumstances we would work with the council. But as it's an emergency we have to do these works as quickly as possible."

They added that the works would be completed in a matter of days - not weeks.


Now city opposition leaders have called the network an "absolute mess" - and called for Southampton City Council to plan better.

Millbrook Councillor Steven Galton said he contacted the council when diversion routes were planned.

He said: "It's 100 per cent obvious to anyone who lives locally exactly which roads cars are going to take. They are coming off at King George's Avenue all the way down to Oakley Road.

"I feel for such major work, lasting over 6 months, it is absolutely crazy locally elected members are given no chance to comment or influence thinking.

"Our Labour run Council have made a mess of managing the local road network.

"They always have an excuse for their poor performance – what annoys so many of us is the fact it is obvious in advance where the problem hotspots will be and we just don’t understand why the Council is always reacting instead of demonstrating foresight and planning properly in advance.

"Third Avenue has just been resurfaced and now HGVs are using that road instead."

Southampton Itchen MP Royston Smith called the traffic hold-ups "massively aggravating" and added: "It seems to be reactive rather than proactive.

"We are constantly told it has to be done now and we can't blame anyone when it's an emergency but they don't seem to be able to coordinate it to create the least amount of disruption."

Cllr Jacqui RaymentCllr Jacqui Rayment

Transport chief Councillor Jacqui Rayment said: "In the first few weeks of starting the work we are on schedule. Nothing unexpected to date has happened which bodes well.

"The diversions have caused some delays but we expected that. The work has to be done.

"Some HGVS have not followed the diversions but we are talking to all the major players to ask them to remind drivers to follow the diversions.

"The A35 and Western Esplanade are out of our hands. I can't stop an emergency any more than I can tell HCC not to repair their network."

She added that Cllr Galton "could work with us productively or complain from the sidelines it’s his choice."

She hit back at Royston Smith, disputing his claims and saying: "This is not correct and as he was leader of the council he would be aware that his statement is not true. When we receive the sort of funding to do major repairs months of hard work goes into the preparation.

"It does mean that there is inconvenience to people who drive."