PART of one of Brighton’s busiest road junctions will be closed for two and a half years as part of repair work on the city’s damaged seafront.

Construction work on the £11 million project to repair the Shelter Hall at the bottom of West Street will begin in October.

Council officers said that due to the age of the Victorian structure and “complexity” in repairing it, a 50 metre section of the westbound carriage of King’s Road at the foot of West Street will be closed for more than two years from 2016.

The former gym site will be demolished and remodelled to provide a new two storey space with a rotunda, roof terrace, public toilets and a new beach walkway in what is being described as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.

The work underneath the A259 will protect the road for the next 150 years with Councillor Gill Mitchell warning that without immediiate action, the entire seafront road at that point would become “unusable” and have to close.

The project has been made possible thanks to the council securing £9 million from the Government’s Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund while the local authority is also contributing nearly £1.7 million towards the scheme.

Preparatory work has already begun on the “realignment of the lower promenade” opposite the bottom of West Street and full construction work is planned to start in October.

As the work progresses, one lane of the westbound carriageway will be shut for a distance of about 50metres either side of the bottom of West Street with a filter for right turns into West Street.

Council officers say they will be making sure that disruption to traffic is kept to a “minimum” with restrictions co-ordinated with other major schemes in the city.

Shared pedestrian and cycle access along the upper prom will be maintained at all times along with access to the lower prom.

The work follows the collapse beneath King’s Road in 2013 which forced out Riptide gym from the Shelter Hall after surveys revealed serious structural weaknesses.

An internal propping up system installed to prevent the structure from collapse is currently costing the council around £110,000 a year.

The newly created spaces will be taken up by businesses which will raise revenue for the council to help maintain the seafront.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chairwoman of the council's environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “We have a once in a generation opportunity to do this work and we are fortunate to have secured funding to completely rebuild a section of the seafront highway, provide a new sea wall and reconstruct an historic building.

“This is the first stage of our investment into the seafront’s infrastructure which is urgently in need of restoration and regeneration.”

James Stevens, head of UK Development at Standard Life Investments who are the council’s project partner for the Waterfront Project to extend Churchill Square and create a new conference centre and live performance arena at Black Rock, said: “Standard Life Investments welcomes the council’s proposals to rebuild Shelter Hall and reconfigure the junction above.

“This project supports two of the city’s most important assets, the seafront and the transport network.

“Making the city as easy to move around as possible is as important as protecting the seafront and the existing infrastructure.

“It’s great to see this confidence in the city and we’re sure it will help to encourage other investors to get started on their own projects.”