WORK to replace 50-year-old underground electricity cables will create misery for many motorists until next year.

Scottish and Southern Electricity (SSE) began a five-week project last week in Cleveland Road, Uxbridge.

And from Friday, the westbound lane of Uxbridge Road between Harlington Road and Long Lane, in Hillingdon, will be closed for six weeks.

The existing electricity network is made up of 66,000 volt underground cables, which run for about 4km between substations in Iver and Hillingdon.

The company says the upgrades are vital.

From Long Lane, the cable follows Cleveland Road via Uxbridge Road,

Royal Lane and Kingston Lane, then Whitehall Road, Walford Road, Cowley Road, Frays Waye, Austin Waye, Waterloo Road, Culvert Lane and Cowley Mill Road to Longbridge Way. All these roads will face some level of disruption between now and March 2012.

The project, to replace cables with 'modern, more robust, insulated cable', is expected to cost up to £12million.

An SSE spokesman said: "As the work involves cable trenches being created in the carriageway along the above route, it is likely that there will be an impact on the flow of traffic.

"Traffic management will be put in place throughout the project and SSE is working closely with Hillingdon Council to co-ordinate the work involved, and to

ensure minimal disruption to customers, traffic and households in the area."

The work is being carried out by the contractor O'Connor Utilities.

The replacement work in Uxbridge Road has been timed to coincide with school half-term, which begins on Monday.

SSE said there was no reason why electricity supplies should be interrupted during the work.

However, the company was responsible for the January 2 power cut that affected 19,000 homes across the borough.

SSE said work to fix the cause of the fault has yet to be completed but has not yet explained what needs to be done, which parts of the borough will be affected, or how long it will take.