OLD Bath Road will be closed between Strawberry Hill and Oxford Street from tonight until further notice to allow Thames Water to carry out emergency repairs work to a burst water main and collapsed sewer.
All traffic will be diverted via Old Bath Road, A4 and vice versa. Those travelling north up Strawberry Hill will only be able to turn left onto Old Bath Road.
The council said the decision to close the road was made after temporary traffic lights ground the town to a halt last night.
Some motorists reported it taking them up to two hours to get from Northcroft Leisure Centre to Speen, while it took others half an hour just to exit the Parkway car park.
Thames Water said the work could take up to 10 days to complete.
The council said: "There is currently a possible sewer collapse and burst water main on Old Bath Road in Newbury.
"Initial investigations started on Thurs 18th Nov under temporary three-way lights but have caused increased congestion around town.
"Therefore, the repair works will continue under a full road closure in order to improve traffic flows around Newbury Town.
"Traffic is still expected to be heavy and we advise people to avoid the area if possible."
Thames Water says the pipe is between three and four metres below the road and needs to be fixed urgently to prevent the sewage which flows through it seeping out and contaminating the surrounding environment.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We’re sorry for any hold-ups the temporary lights are causing.
"We started emergency work to repair a collapsed sewer on Thursday, which we discovered while clearing a blockage from the pipe, and expect the job to take a week to 10 days.”