TWO years of major road works to improve public space and traffic in the city centre started this week.

There were fears construction work in Valley Gardens, Brighton, would cause traffic chaos but so far both buses and cars are coping well.

The multi-million pound scheme will be carried out in three phases.

Phases one and two, costing £10 million, will involve developments from St Peter’s Church to Edward Street.

Phase three will be from Old Steine to Brighton Palace Pier.

Engineering company Dyer and Butler was awarded the contract for the first two phases of the project.

Phase one started on Monday and will finish on February 26. It includes the Richmond Parade junction with Grand Parade.

Phase two will be from November 26 until July 29.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: “There is only one road closure planned during the construction phase which will be in Richmond Parade.

“The contractor’s plan is to maintain at least one live traffic lane during the build by delivering the works in phases, with the exception of some night closures for works resurfacing.

“Once the scheme is in place, Gloucester Place will be closed as per the new scheme layout.

“Dyer and Butler understands that Valley Gardens is located in the busy city centre of Brighton. We will do all we can to minimise disruption while undertaking the improvement works and we appreciate the co-operation of residents, businesses and visitors during our works.”

Brighton and Hove City Buses has reassured commuters that buses will continue to run as usual.

Managing director Martin Harris said: “We want to reassure passengers that buses will continue to run both ways throughout the Valley Gardens project. We will be working closely with the city council to ensure that there is minimal disruption to passengers’ journeys as building work progresses.

“Valley Gardens is part of the vision for a more people-friendly, cleaner and more communal space. It will open up this part of Brighton and make it more attractive to visitors and residents alike.

“The end result will be extra green space, a simplified road layout with better links to the city centre and better access for pedestrians, cyclists and buses, as well as making it safer and easier to cross the road.”

The new Valley Gardens will also replace traffic signals equipment and improve air quality and flood risk management. The council is still seeking more funding for phase three.