A SENIOR councillor wants drivers to be given more information about the closure of a main road into Romsey.

County councillor for Romsey Extra and HCC deputy leader, Roy Perry, has urged the Highways Agency to provide better signage on the M27 and M271 to let motorists know the diversion routes.

This follows the closure of the A27 Southampton Road, which is set to remain so until July to allow Network Rail to raise the Ashfield Bridge.

Cllr Perry said the Highways Agency would only permit small signs and these were often obscured by high-sided lorries. As a result, many motorists were not using the official diversion along the M27 to Junction 2 at Ower, but diverting along Botley Road and Highwood Lane.

He said such requests for more visible signs had been refused. “I have urged Hampshire County Council to alert the Highways Agency to the inadequacy of present signage. I cannot see why the electronic signs on the motorway gantries should not be used to alert motorists.

“They tell me to ‘Think Bike’, which is all well and good, but residents in Botley Road and Highwood Lane are really suffering. I am disgusted to hear that the agency has so far refused to have high-level and really visible signs.”

The works at Ashfield Bridge are part of a wider programme by Network Rail to provide a diversionary route for freight trains from Southampton to Basingstoke, which would be used if there were problems on the main line.

The larger size of containers means work must be done along the line to either raise the bridges or lower the line, as at Lockerley. A Highways Agency spokesperson said it would do all it could to help manage the traffic, but added that the work was not on the agency network and the M27, as the main diversion route for affected drivers, had been performing well with the extra traffic. He said the warning signs on the M27 had been jointly agreed in advance between the agency, Network Rail and the local authority.

“Given the relative volumes of traffic on the M27 and the A27 through Romsey, we feel that the level of agreed signage is about right, but if the council or Network Rail feel they may need to be revised, then we are happy to talk to them and take another look if needed.”