MOTORISTS are set for a week of traffic chaos and prolonged journeys as one of the main roads into Christchurch closes for emergency roadworks.

The two eastbound lanes of Barrack Road from the traffic lights with Stour Road to the Fountain Roundabout will be blocked off for five days from Monday, September 26.

This is to allow SGN engineers to address a leaking main under the road, which has been located following reported gas escapes.

Engineers are expected to carry out extended hours to ensure the closure does not face delays, with the possibility of some night working.

Christchurch Town ward councillor Mike Cox said: “It is going to have a massive impact.

“The sooner they can get it done the better.

“Unfortunately, it is work they have to do. We can’t ask for it to be delayed.”

A signposted diversion will be in place via Stour Road and Bargates, with a temporary three-way traffic lights at the junction between these two roads to “help maintain the flow of traffic and to avoid congestion”.

A spokesperson for SGN said: “We are working closely with the BCP Council to ensure there is minimal impact for residents living on the side roads.

“We are making sure there are appropriate access restrictions and signage in place to discourage side roads being used as alternative routes”.

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Some street parking bays will be suspended on the diversion route. Access for residents within the Barrack Road closure will be maintained.

“We would like to reassure the local community that the leak is being monitored and has been made safe until we are able to carry out our repair work,” the SGN spokesperson added.

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“We appreciate how disruptive this closure will be. To take advantage of the road being closed, the council have made every effort to invite other utilities and service providers to work collaboratively with us and minimise the need for future works.

“Please accept our apologies for the disruption caused by these emergency works. Our engineers will be working extended hours to complete the repair without further delay. Where it is safe to do so, this may also include working through the night.”