Drivers are being urged to obey a major road closure after a vehicle went through it and hit a highways worker.

Part of the A323 Fleet to Hartley Wintney road has been closed between the Elvetham Heath Way roundabout and the Pale Lane junction while contractors Durkin and Sons carry out cable works on behalf of Southern Electric.

The road closure came into force on August 11 and diversions are in place while the work, set to last until about September 1, is carried out.

Church Crookham resident Nick Hill got caught up in the diversion the day after it was set up as he drove to Reading. Mr Hill later cycled to the road closure to find out why it was in place.

“I spoke to the workers and they told me on the day of the closure a lorry went through the barriers and ran over the site foreman, breaking his leg," he said. "They also said an elderly woman was so determined she charged through and drove into one of the work vehicles."

Mr Hill said he had to follow the diversion route, which is about four miles and took him along Elvetham Road, over the railway bridge, left up to the A30 and left again into Hartley Wintney.

“I only have to make the journey once every fortnight so it’s no big deal for me but it’s the local people people are being put out,” he added. “It’s the main route from Fleet to Hartley Wintney and Reading. The road closure is only about 200 yards long but it’s a vital point for drivers.”

Fleet resident Alistair Coleman, who uses the road to drive to work in Reading, feared the worst when he saw warning signs of the impending road closure.

But he said: “The only time it has been a problem with me is when I forget about it and roll up to the Elvetham Heath roundabout at six in the morning with a five-mile detour ahead of me.

“In fact, it’s been no real problem at all. The diversion is well marked and it offers alternative routes to Reading when I reach the A30.”

Southern Electric Power Distribution spokesman Gavin Steel said: “I can confirm a contractor was injured after being hit by a third party vehicle on the stretch of the A323 Fleet Road between Pale Lane and the Elvetham Heath Way roundabout.

“The incident was immediately reported to the police and a full investigation is underway.”

He said the closure is in place to allow the installation of an underground electricity cable to replace existing 132 kilovolt overhead lines supported by steel towers.

“While we seek to keep disruption for road-users to a minimum, the safety of the general public, our staff and our contractors is always our first priority,” he added.

“We would like to thank residents for their patience and for following the diversion while our engineers complete this essential work to improve the network.”