AN £800,000 scheme to rebuild a busy Romsey junction and install “intelligent” traffic lights is due get under way next Monday (January 7).

Work at the Cupernham Lane junction with Winchester Hill is being funded by developers building 800 homes at Abbotswood.

The lights will be fitted with queue monitors so their sequencing will always favour whichever road is busier at the time.

The works, which could take up to 16 weeks, will involve reconstruction of the carriageway, the creation of turning lanes, and the installation of two sets of pedestrian crossings – one across Cupernham Lane and the other over Winchester Road just to the west of the junction.

Romsey’s county councillor, Mark Cooper, who has campaigned for years for improvements at the junction said: “First, I’d like to apologise to Romsey residents for the coming traffic disruption. It’s a case of short-term pain for long- term gain.

“However, I welcome progress, at long last, on making this junction work better. I wonder how many hours local residents have lost in the past trying to exit onto Winchester Hill in the rush hour? Of all the issues in my county division over the last few years, this has been one of the most vexatious.”

Mr Cooper pointed out that, originally, the works were estimated to cost about £400,000, but inflation and the complex engineering involved has pushed the bill up to around £800,000.

“The work will take a long time, because the road foundations need replacing; the wear and tear from heavy vehicles accessing the recycling sites north of the town is very real problem and why I’ve tried to prevent additional industrial development north of the town,” said Mr Cooper.

“I know a number of parents of children at Romsey Primary School are very keen to get a safe crossing of Winchester Hill in place; it’s unfortunate the campaign to get a safe crossing in place has taken so long, but we’re getting there now.”

Hampshire County Council is planning to install reflective bollards at the Belbins end of Cupernham Lane, where it meets Sandy Lane, to make motorists more aware of the junction, following several serious accidents.