Motorists are facing 14 weeks of gridlock as roadworks to permit the opening of the new £5.6 million Mill Lane Retail Park drag on.

Three-way temporary traffic lights at the junction of Montecchio Way and Mill Lane caused traffic to queue back on to the A31 dual carriageway at the Holybourne roundabout during the evening rush hour on Monday.

Frustrated drivers questioned why the work – required by Hampshire County Council – had to start at the beginning of the new school term.

On July 19 the Herald reported that Hargreaves Properties Ltd had begun work on June 19 to construct a new access road, upgrade routes for pedestrians and cyclists, and install traffic lights at the junction, and it was expected to continue until August 21.

A county council spokesperson said: “The roadworks on Mill Lane and Montecchio Way are being carried out by a developer, Hargreaves. We are aware of the traffic backing up to the A31 and have instructed Hargreaves’ delivery team to make every effort to reduce the queues. We will continue to monitor the situation.”