Commuters faced huge tailbacks and delays of more than an hour along the A259 this morning.

There were queues of around four miles along the coastal road between Rottingdean and Peacehaven due to temporary traffic lights.

Brighton and Hove City Council, the highways authority which approved the temporary traffic lights, has now confirmed that a gas main was damaged by workers overnight which meant they had to stay during rush hour.

A nurse at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton was among hundreds of people late for work as a result.

NHS worker John Neville was getting a bus this morning from Telscombe Cliffs to the hospital.

The Argus: Huge queues through Peacehaven this morningHuge queues through Peacehaven this morning (Image: @mikesmedia_/Instagram)

He told The Argus said: "Having these roadworks at rush hour is ridiculous. No thought or planning has gone into this. 

"I got on the bus near my house and it took 40 minutes to get to the Texaco garage in Peacehaven. The bus driver said he counted the traffic lights change 18 times and the bus didn’t get through. That’s how slow it was.

“It is extremely frustrating. I cannot work at home, this is affecting patient care. It is a total disregard for people in the area.”

Simon Wood said it took him 90 minutes to get from Sutton Avenue in Peacehaven to Saltdean Primary to drop off his grandson, a 2.5 mile journey.

Councillor Trevor Muten, chairman of the transport and sustainability committee, said: “I completely understand people’s frustration at this disruption and the inconvenience it will have caused.

The Argus: Delays due to roadworks at Rottingdean traffic lightsDelays due to roadworks at Rottingdean traffic lights (Image: Supplied)

“The temporary traffic signals were meant to be removed during the day to prevent this sort of congestion, but unfortunately a gas main was damaged while Southern Water and its contractors were carrying out work overnight.

“Southern Gas Networks are now on site and working closely with Southern Water to complete the repair work as quickly as possible, but the damaged gas main has meant the temporary traffic signals have unfortunately needed to remain in place while the repair work is carried out.

“We understand this is far from ideal for residents and visitors and have instructed the contractors to manage the signals to give priority to the highest traffic flow and also monitor the situation to ensure any further changes to reduce disruption are identified and put in place.”

A Southern Water spokesman said: “Southern Water teams are replacing a water main on Marine Drive, Rottingdean. We are carrying out the repair works at night, at the request of Brighton and Hove City Council and Brighton Bus Company.

"The repair work started on Tuesday 16 April and is scheduled to finish on Friday 19 April.

“However, to carry out the works safely, four-way temporary traffic lights are in place. We apologise for the traffic disruption and the inconvenience caused. We are working as quickly as we can to finish the work as soon as possible.”

There are works taking place at Rottingdean from 8pm tonight until 5am tomorrow and 8pm on Thursday until 5am on Friday.