LANE closures that sparked traffic chaos on a major route into Portsmouth following a gas leak are to be lifted after works finished early.
Thousands of motorists were caught in tailbacks as Southern Gas Networks (SGN) carried out emergency repair works on the south bound carriageway of London Road at Hilsea.
Experts had to shut two lanes and temporarily close the third for safety reasons as they worked to fix complex leaks in a main about two metres below the road surface near the Smile Garage and the Hot Tub Centre.
But after works started on Monday morning they worked round the clock and traffic flow gradually improved.
Despite being given 11 days to finish the job ahead of the arrival of the Olympic torch in the city, workers finished the job in just three days.
Now the carriageway is set to reopen fully after rush hour tonight after the excavation in the road was filled.
Ron Verrall, Solent depot general manager, said: ‘We were faced with a particularly difficult repair job in a very busy road.
‘There are several mains as well as high voltage cables in the road.
‘It is also one of our bigger mains which is positioned deep in the ground. We needed to close two of the lanes to ensure we could carry out the work as safely as possible.
‘We had thought we would need a couple of weeks to complete the job, but thanks to the sterling efforts of our team we were able to finish the job ahead of schedule.
‘We’d like to thank everyone for their patience during this major repair.’
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Lib Dem leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It’s really good to see SGN working 24 hours a day to get this problem sorted so quickly.