IN a bid to save Southampton taxpayers millions each year, transport chiefs are asking the Government to take responsibility for one of the city’s busiest roads.

The call comes as the final bill for roadworks in which 30 traffic lights were installed at the Millbrook roundabout on the A33 was confirmed at £2.59m, over budget by £564,000.

The Department for Transport is already considering designating the A33/A35 as a road of “strategic national infrastructure” as a main route in and out of the port.

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Tory councillor, Matt Dean, Cabinet member for transport, said it should become a trunk road, managed and maintained by the Highways Agency.

He suggested that relieving the council of the cost of repairs and maintainance between Redbridge and Southern Road, such as the Millwork roundabout scheme, could save the city council about £2m a year.

“I could fix a lot of pot holes for £2.59m,” he added.

Road chiefs said they had introduced a more stringent approach to managing roadwork projects after a review of the four-month scheme to resurface the Millbrook roundabout and Dock Gate 20.

Taxpayer spending watchdogs accused the council of “management failure” when the overspend was revealed by the Daily Echo. But the council insists the project was still “value for money”.

Cllr Dean claimed: “In engineering terms, it was quite a successful scheme.”

He said that, by injecting a material into the ground, rather than conventionally digging out foundations, the bridge over the roundabout was kept open and the project was finished more quickly and cheaply.

Head of highways, Mick Bishop, told councillors the scheme would prove its worth through shorter journey times and fewer accidents.

● The council is to bring two major resurfacing projects forward after making savings with “smarter working”.

It will spend £600,000 on Cobden Avenue, between its junctions with Cobbett Road, Bullar Road, Bitterne Park Triangle, St Denys, and it will use a further £150,000 to resurface Bevois Valley Road, between Kingsbury Road junction and Bevois Hill.