A council has urged utility companies to minimise disruption caused by maintenance and repair work after travel chaos on the A259.

With work ongoing in Rottingdean by Southern Water and further repairs scheduled by Southern Gas Networks next month, Brighton and Hove City Council has asked both to ensure the impact on residents and commuters is minimal.

The plea comes after there were queues of around four miles along the coastal road between Rottingdean and Peacehaven due to temporary traffic lights last week.

The council confirmed that a gas main was damaged by workers overnight which meant the lights 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.

Councillor Trevor Muten, chairman of the transport and sustainability committee, said last week’s disruption was “frustrating” and asked companies to do better.

 “We understand utility companies need to carry out essential work, but it’s vital they do everything they can to reduce the disruption this causes to our residents, businesses and visitors,” he said.

“Our teams work hard to ensure repairs and maintenance are co-ordinated, monitoring traffic levels and keeping people safe. As the local authority, we issue permits so that important work can be done but we expect everyone, including our own highways contractors, to comply with the permit conditions.

“Utility companies and their contractors have a responsibility to ensure we keep the city moving, especially on busy routes like the A259. That includes communicating effectively with residents, adequate traffic management and minimising work during busy periods.

“We expect utility companies and their contractors working in our city meet the highest standards. Where there is non-compliance with permits, we will take action.

“The disruption caused in Rottingdean last week was extremely frustrating and I hope we won’t see a repeat in the coming weeks.”

There is further upcoming work with Southern Gas Networks replacing a gas main along Marine Drive in Brighton between Nevill Road and Rottingdean High Street from May 7 to around June 14. This will involve a lane closure to keep disruption to a minimum.

A spokesman from SGN said: "After close consultation and in agreement with the local council, we will begin work to upgrade our gas network in Marine Drive, Rottingdean, from Tuesday, May 7 for approximately eight weeks.

"These essential works involve the replacement of old metal gas pipes with new plastic pipes to ensure we can continue to provide residents and businesses with a safe and efficient gas supply.

"Our engineers will be replacing the gas main in Marine Drive between the junction of West Street and Nevill Road. Due to the location of the gas pipe in the road, and for everyone’s safety, we’ll need to close the bus lane between these junctions for the duration of our works."

A Southern Water spokesman said: “We continue to do everything we can to minimise disruption when essential repair works are required. Safety measures such as traffic management are a crucial element to complex engineering, as they help keep commuters, businesses and residents safe.

“We will continue to work with all local stakeholders in advance, during and after the event of any engineering works. We apologise for the disruption that our repair and maintenance work causes. We always aim to complete our engineering works on time and as quickly as possible.”