MOTORISTS face fresh misery as workers tomorrow begin to repair a gas leak on a busy stretch of road in Portsmouth.
The inside lane on the southbound carriageway in London Road, Hilsea, and the slip road off the A27 will be closed while Southern Gas Network officials sort out problems underneath the carriageway.
Work is being done to seal up a joint on the gas main which runs diagonally underneath the car park next to Portsbridge Roundabout and across six lanes towards Shell Station.
Recent gas readings from holes drilled into the ground revealed the level escaping exceeded what the Health and Safety Executive thought was safe.
The council is considering closing a second lane so repairs can be carried out properly, meaning traffic measures would be imposed on the roundabout.
As part of the work Southern Gas Network needs to dig a series of holes 12 feet apart in the carriageway to check each of the joints until the one that is leaking is found and repaired.
The gas firm has agreed to work 24 hours on the job to ensure it is finished by February 12, the day before the closure of Northern Road Bridge, in Cosham.
As previously reported, the road which runs over the bridge, which dates from 1927, will be shut while workers demolish and replace the eastern side of it.
One lane will be kept open and operated by traffic lights.
Martin Lavers, the council’s assistant head of service for traffic and street management said: ‘We have given permission for an early start to these emergency works to minimise the risk of a clash with the closure of the Northern Road bridge.
‘Portsmouth City Council will be continually monitoring the situation to ensure effective and efficient working between all parties and have requested 24-hour working to ensure the job is completed as quickly as possible.’
All work on the southbound carriageway will be completed before any potential repairs are carried out underneath the northbound one.
The leak, which is on a main that feeds into the rest of the city, is in a different place to the one found last summer which left thousands of motorists in traffic tailbacks.