The contractor responsible for a major west London artery being closed for much of today has apologised to drivers caught in the huge snarl-up.

McNicholas was laying cables for Virgin Media on the A316 in Whitton overnight but failed to finish the work in time, covering the trench with plates which police deemed unsafe for motorists to drive over.

Transport for London today said workers had ignored instructions to dig up the road one lane at a time and criticised their 'cavalier attitude', claiming it had caused 'chaos' for thousands of commuters.

The road was not fully re-opened in both directions until 5pm today and TfL warned queues were likely to remain in place for some time.

The roadworks caused huge tailbacks on the A316 Chertsey Road
The roadworks caused huge tailbacks on the A316 Chertsey Road
 

McNicholas' business strategy director David Beaty said: "McNicholas would like to extend a sincere apology to both road users and the authorities for the disruption and inconvenience caused today by works being carried out on the A316 Chertsey Road.

"A thorough internal investigation is being undertaken to ensure that this type of incident does not re-occur and we are co-operating fully with all parties involved. We wish to thank all the authorities for their support today in securing the successful re-opening of the Chertsey Road this afternoon."