ROADWORKS usually slow traffic down – but in this case they brought it to a dramatic and almighty halt.
The car was travelling along Hart Plain Avenue, Waterlooville, when suddenly it crashed through fencing and into a hole in the road.
Neighbours and passing drivers looked on in disbelief as they spotted the Vauxhall Astra sitting lopsided in the middle of the roadworks, which were being undertaken by Southern Gas Networks.
Luckily, the elderly man driving the car was able to clamber out of the vehicle and was not seriously hurt.
Ray Wintle, 72, of Hart Plain Avenue, could not quite believe what he was seeing.
He said: ‘I looked out of the kitchen window and saw the car in the hole.
‘I thought, there’s been an accident.
‘I couldn’t believe it at first.
‘You wonder how it could have happened.’
Estate agent John Arthur, 20, of nearby Dresden Drive, was going to a viewing when he spotted the car a couple of minutes after it entered the hole.
He said: ‘It’s a big enough hole for the car to go in.
‘It was all fenced off. He’s clearly gone straight through the fence and into the hole in the ground.
‘They have been putting gas pipes in here for the last two or three weeks.’
He added: ‘There were a few surprised expressions from drivers passing by.
‘The gas men were still around.
‘Looking at the damage to the car, it’s not horrendously smashed up.
‘I assumed someone would have been seriously hurt, but there was not significant damage to the car.
‘He must have tried to brake, but just not stopped in time.’
Police were called to the scene at about 1.10pm yesterday.
The car was in the hole for around an hour before it was removed by a recovery vehicle.
The driver did not wish to speak to The News, but Mr Wintle said he had spoken to him about how it all happened.
Mr Wintle said: ‘The hole in the road with the barriers round it is on the right-hand side of the road.
‘He was approaching the barrier as he wanted to cross to the other side of the road to continue up Hart Plain Avenue.
‘But a car coming down the road made him move to the left.
‘Before he knew it, he was in the hole.’
Sam O’Connor, a spokeswoman for Southern Gas Networks, said the roadworks were being carried out to replace ageing iron mains with plastic piping.
However, the hole in the road had only just been dug and did not have any pipes inside.
She said: ‘There was no damage to any of our equipment or pipes.
‘We remained on site to make sure everything was safe.
‘Our barriers reach the standard of agencies in the area.
‘He did drive right through the barriers unfortunately.
‘Shortly after we were straight back to put the barriers back in a safe position.
‘That’s why the car is surrounded by barriers in the photographs. It was to protect the pit work.’