MOTORISTS are set for months of hold-ups as the second phase of  £5.2m works to improve journey times on a major route into Southampton is set to start.

As reported, a new bus priority corridor and a new cycle freeway are being created on the A3024 Bursledon Road.

The firts phase of the Southampton City Council-led scheme started in February.

But highway bosses have now announced that the second part of the project will start on April 23 and will see road closures and diversion routes in place.

The Bursledon Road junctions with Coates Road and Warburton Road will be closed for 12 weeks starting from April 23.

Works will include the renewal of traffic signals, the widening of existing crossings and a new Toucan crossing at Coates Road. The left turn lane out of Coates Road onto Bursledon Road will be widened to become a left and right turn lane. This will allow the right turn lane to be removed for the installation of a new contraflow cycle lane. 

Highway bosses said that further works including the renewal of the traffic signals, widening of existing crossings and removal of the on-road cycle lane, will also be carried out at the Orpen Road junction from mid-May for around eight weeks.

Orpen Road will be closed to westbound traffic from Bursledon Road for the duration of the work.

According to the plans, the cycle lane will be replaced by a wider shared footway/cycleway. 

 The existing gating system – which restricts vehicle access during morning peak times – will be removed so that vehicles can use Orpen Road to reach Bursledon Road at all times, relieveing congestion at Coates Road.

 The capacity to allow vehicles in and out of Orpen Road will be increased by the removal of the bus lane along Bursledon Road which is being replaced with virtual bus lane technology.

This will involve the upgrade of traffic signal technology so that the buses communicate their location and route and once they are close enough, the traffic signals are held on green for longer to allow the approaching bus to get through.

The second phase of works will take place at the same time as work by SGN to replace a gas main along Bursledon Road.

Denise Edghill, director for growth at SCC, said: “Please bear us with as we work to improve this important route into the city for all road users. The work will lead to better journey times, more reliable bus travel and a completely new section of cycle freeway. We will as always be doing everything we can to minimise disruption.”