MOTORISTS face weeks of traffic “chaos” as transport bosses prepare to shut one of the busiest routes into Southampton.

Bassett Avenue will be closed for up to a month to city centre-bound traffic, as part of a three-month project – costing in excess of £1 million.

The closure, between the Chilworth and Winchester Road roundabouts, will allow engineers carry out “urgent” work to the road’s damaged drainage system.

This will be followed by up to three weeks of night closures, so the city council-maintained road can be resurfaced for the first time in 16 years.

But the work, which is set to begin on February 11, will also coincide with major repair work on the M27.

Highways England has announced plans to resurface the motorway between junction three and junction four.

The M27 work will start on Monday, February 5, and will include a four week-long night-time closure between junction three and junction five.

This will be followed by the same closures on the westbound carriageway, due to start on March 5.

Bassett councillor, Les Harris, said he expected the work to the avenue to be “rather chaotic” for motorists.

But he described the work as “necessary”.

City MP Royston Smith also admitted the work was needed, but was critical of the “clash” between the projects.

He said: “These two roads have needed work for years.

“But to do them at the same time; that can’t be beyond the wit of man to stagger them, even if it’s four weeks apart.”

Phase one of the repair work on Bassett Avenue will begin from 8pm next Sunday.

It will be completely closed to all inbound traffic for up to four weeks.

Drivers will be diverted via Bassett Green Road.

Full overnight closures, between 8pm and 6am, in both directions, are expected to begin on Monday, March 12.

The closures are expected to last three weeks.

Engineers will return in April or May to lay an anti-skid surface, which will not lead to closures.

City transport boss, councillor Jacqui Rayment, said work to the Avenue had been brought forward as it was in “desperate” need of repair.

According to the cabinet member, this had caused it to align with Highways England's plans to resurface the M27.

She said: “Please bear with us. We have listened to your concerns and recognise that these are essential repairs.

"The road was last resurfaced 16 years ago and given the volume of traffic using Bassett Avenue it has lasted well.

"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.”

Brian Hammersley, contract director for Balfour Beatty in Southampton, who will be carrying out the work, 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. We will sign post alternative routes.

"We’ve planned this so that peak outbound traffic is unaffected.

"If you are coming into the city via the M3 we are advising that you consider using the M27 junctions 3 and 5.

"Inbound traffic reaching Chilworth Roundabout will be diverted via Bassett Green Road but expect delays at peak times.”