DRIVERS in North Ayrshire are being warned of a lengthy diversion due to the closure of one of the area's busiest commuter roads.

Resurfacing work is being carried out on the A78 between the Southannan and Hunterston roundabouts.

Two full weekend closures are planned, along with additional overnight closures and daytime traffic management.

The work is being carried out by Amey on behalf of Transport Scotland, as part of the maintenance company's management contract for the trunk roads network in south-west Scotland.

The work will last in stages until Monday, April 3.

The road between the two roundabouts, covering 1.2 miles, will be completely closed over two weekends - the first from 9pm on Friday, March 17, until 6am on Monday, March 20.

A second full weekend closure will be in place from 9pm on Friday, March 31 until 6am on Monday, April 3.

In addition the same stretch of road will be shut overnight from 9pm each night from Monday, March 13 to Thursday, March 16 inclusive, reopening at 6am the next day.

The same overnight closures will be in place from 9pm on Monday, March 20 and Tuesday, March 21 - again until 6am the next day.

Amey says that temporary traffic lights will be in place on the road from 9.30am-4pm on Monday, March 13, and from 6am to 8pm on Wednesday, March 15 and Friday, March 17.

The road will be fully open on all dates other than those mentioned above.

Amey says it plans to have all traffic management removed by 6am on Monday April 3.

A signed diversion will be in place throughout the closure periods.

Traffic heading north from the Three Towns and Irvine areas will be directed off the A78 at the Chapel Hill roundabout and on to the B780 to Dalry, then on to the B784 towards Largs and the westbound A760, rejoining the A78 at the Haylie Brae in Largs.

Traffic heading south from the Inverclyde and Largs areas will follow the same diversion route but in reverse.

The diversion is 15 miles in length - though it will be even longer for people living in West Kilbride, Seamill and Fairlie heading for destinations on the other side of the closed stretch of road.

Amey says access will still be available to Clydeport at Hunterston from the north, and that emergency vehicles will be allowed access throughout the work.

The company says it is hoped the works will benefit around 7,800 vehicles using this route each day, by improving the condition of the carriageway and reducing the need for more extensive maintenance in the future.

However, Amey also says the work is weather dependent and may be cancelled or rescheduled if weather conditions are not favourable.