Drivers were braced for rush hour chaos today as one of the busiest roads into Southampton closed for up to a month.

Bassett Avenue  is shut off from the Chilworth Roundabout to Winchester Road to all city-bound traffic from today.

The closure is part of a three month £1 million project to carry out urgent repair work to the road’s drainage system.

Once the repair work is complete, the road will be resurfaced for the first time in 16 years

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We have listened to your concerns about this and recognise that these are essential repairs.

“This time we are not just putting back what was there, our engineers from Balfour Beatty are looking for ways to relocate drains as these can be weak points.

“Where manholes and drains cannot be relocated we will be rebuilding with some of the toughest construction available to ensure reduced maintenance and future disruption.”

Brain Hammersley, Contract Director for Balfour Beatty in Southampton, added: “There will be unavoidable disruption particularly at peak times.

“We are asking those affected to plan their journeys wherever possible and allow extra time.”

During the closure, all city bound traffic will be diverted along Basset Green Road and towards Swaythling.

Outbound traffic will not be impacted by the closure.

Fears have been raised that Swaythling will be worst affected by the works.

Ward councillor Bob Painton said: “It will be total gridlock at peak times. I come down there most evenings and it can take me 30 minutes to get through.

“It has got to be done, but hopefully it is managed properly.”

Once repair work is complete, engineers will begin resurfacing Bassett Avenue.

That work is expected to start on March 12 and will take up to three weeks, with the road closed overnight from 8pm until 6am.

Overgrown vegetation will also be cleared from the nearby path.

Engineers will return within three weeks of the resurfacing works to lay an anti-skid surface.

This is not expected to lead to further closures.

The work coincides with week night closures on the M27, which started with the eastbound carriageway between junction three and five last weekend.

Work on the westbound carriageway is due to start on Monday, March 5 and could take up to a month.

It will be closed from 9pm to 6am.