HIGHWAY bosses have been prompted to rethink the diversion routes after a weekend of traffic chaos.

Romsey and the surrounding area were brought to a standstill on September 29 and 30, as the M27 was closed from junction three to five to allow work to rebuild Romsey Road Bridge.

And while the motorway, which was expected to remain closed until 5am on October 1, was reopened 16 hours earlier, highway bosses have been prompted to look at the diversion routes again ahead of next year’s closure.

Nick Adams-King, deputy leader at Test Valley Borough Council, said: “I would agree that the Highways Agency might need to reassess their diversions and perhaps ask for temporary weight limits on some routes for the remaining weekend closures, which would help ensure the heavy traffic used diversion routes suitable for it.”

As previously reported, westbound HGVs faced a 58-mile diversion, driving up as far as Andover and the A303, out to Salisbury and back round to Southampton.

And while some traffic opted to use smaller, local routes, larger traffic faced the full diversion, turning a ten-minute drive into a two-hour loop of Hampshire.

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said: “I will be writing to Highways England to ascertain whether any ‘fine tuning’ of their diversions can be undertaken to relieve the congestion during the next planned closure. I should say, however, that I was very impressed with the completion of the work a full 16 hours ahead of schedule and congratulate Highways England on getting the route open again so quickly.”

A spokesman for Highways England said: “As with all work, we welcome feedback from partners and road users and will analyse the works to see if we can do anything better in future.

“While we direct drivers to use our clearly signed diversion routes, sometimes they will choose their own routes or follow their sat nav.s Our advice would always be against this.”

The M27 will be closed again from April 26 to 29 and between October 18 and 21, both 2019.