DRIVERS are bracing themselves for 18 weeks of disruption caused by a £1m scheme to improve a major Southampton road.

A four-month project to upgrade the A335 Stoneham Way - one of the busiest routes in and out of the city - is due to start on Monday.

But Southampton City Council and Balfour Beatty are vowing to do everything they can to minimise disruption.

Lane restrictions will be limited to off-peak periods and engineers will work "day and night" to ensure the scheme is completed as quickly as possible.

Stoneham Way will be improved between its junctions with Wide Lane and Thomas Lewis Way.

New traffic signals will be installed to improve vehicle flows between the city and the airport.

The scheme will also see the completion of a new section of the Southampton Cycle Network, the SCN8, which will enhance cycle and pedestrian links between Mansbridge and the University of Southampton's Highfield Campus.

Traffic signals at Bassett Green Road and Wessex Lane will be upgraded to give buses priority.

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for transport and place at Southampton City Council, said:

“Encouraging and promoting sustainable and active travel is a key commitment in our Green City Charter.

"Winning funding for and investing in projects to improve the safety and attractiveness of busy routes for people walking and cycling is an important part of this.

“Our highways partners at Balfour Beatty will be doing everything they can to minimise disruption while we carry out these important improvements. This includes limiting restrictions to off-peak times where possible and working day and night."

The four-phase project is due to be completed in December.

It will be financed by some of the £5.7m secured by Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council from the government's Transforming Cities Fund.

Plans to make cycling safer will be welcomed by people who like to get around on two wheels.

As reported in yesterday's Daily Echo, cycling injury specialists says cyclists are mote likely to be injured in accidents in Hampshire than anywhere else.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader of the county council, said: “By working closely with our partners at Southampton City Council we have been able to successfully bid for funding to improve cycling, walking and public transport routes, encouraging more people, where possible, to leave their cars at home.

"Simple actions such as walking to school, car-sharing or switching off idling car engines will contribute significantly to better air quality."


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