Drivers face more traffic misery after it was announced that roadworks on Sussex’s busiest route are to overrun by more than a month.

The Highways Agency confirmed yesterday that drainage work on the A27 near Lancing will not be completed by December 20, as originally promised.

Instead the road will still be partially closed overnight with some day closures until early February at least.

The Highways Agency blamed poor weather and unexpected problems for the failure to finish the job before Christmas.

A spokeswoman said drains had been found encased in concrete rather than gravel and had taken longer to repair and replace.

Crews have also been battling blocked drainage ditches, which delayed work further.

But motoring campaigner Steve Percy said the Highways Agency should be “forced to pay a penalty” for failing to stick to its schedule.

'Incredibly frustrating'

He said: “It’s the only way to stop this kind of thing happening. Everyone accepts that roadworks do need to be done sometimes but when they overrun like this it’s incredibly frustrating.

“Every town around here relies on the A27 so the news that these roadworks will take even longer than expected is very unwelcome.”

Daytime restrictions Road restrictions will be lifted during the Christmas and New Year break before regular night-time closures resume in January.

There will also be “some localised daytime restrictions” according to the Highways Agency.

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton visited the site last week to check on progress.

Drainage problems

He said: “Overall, I was pleased with the progress that the team had made considering the problems that they have encountered.

"Obviously, there was nothing that they could have done to prevent the bad weather and they were expecting the drains to be covered in gravel – not concrete.

"However, in light of these setbacks, they provided more men on site so that they would not fall too far behind.”

The spokeswoman for the Highways Agency said: “Once work began it became evident the drainage system required more extensive repairs than originally programmed.

“Several obstructions were also found, including large amounts of concrete covering the pipes, and work also had to stop temporarily for emergency utility work, unconnected with the scheme, to be carried out.

“After the break, during January and February, overnight completion work will take place for bollards, lighting and resurfacing.

“There will some localised daytime restrictions on the A27. Details of the overnight restrictions will continue to be publicised in advance.”

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