Virgin Media risked the safety of Richmond residents once again this morning, causing traffic hell throughout the borough, it has been claimed.

Thousands of commuters were sat in gridlock on the A316 Chertsey Road after the communications giant flouted road work instructions from Transport for London (TfL).

The works, which began last night near Hospital Bridge Road roundabout in Whitton, should have been carried out one lane at a time overnight to ensure they were completed without causing disruption during the day.

However, Virgin Media's contractors instead chose to dig up all five lanes across the road, leaving the work unfinished and placing inadequate plating across the trench.

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: "Once again people's commute into London has been thrown into utter chaos because a utility company has decided to have a cavalier attitude to road works and once again caused chaos for thousands of London’s commuters.

"This is unacceptable, unnecessary and hugely frustrating for all and I will be personally writing to the chief executive of Virgin Media to ask them to explain how this easily avoidable disruption was allowed to happen."

The condition of the dual carriageway was so dangerous police were forced to close it for safety reasons.

It follows Richmond Council successfully prosecuting Virgin Media earlier this month after its contractors put drivers' and pedestrians' lives in danger in Petersham Road, Richmond last year.

They were fined £14,000 at Lavender Hill Magistrates' Court and a Virgin Media spokesman refused to confirm if it was the same contractors this time around.

The A316 is currently closed in both directions but TfL hoped to be able to at least partially open lanes by this evening's rush-hour traffic.

A Virgin Media spokesman said: "We take this matter extremely seriously and are addressing our contractor's failure to comply with the works authorised and agreed with TfL.

"We are working with TfL to resolve the issue urgently and regret, and apologise for, the concern caused to motorists in the area."

The queuing has called severe delays to traffic in Twickenham, Whitton, Strawberry Hill and Feltham.