WORK on the M27, which will see the motorway closed to complete a £19m bridge replacement, have been pushed back to the end of the month.
The scheme was set for this weekend but will now be carried out from 10pm Friday, 31st January to 5am Monday, 3rd February. It will mean a 70-mile detour for some Forest-bound traffic.
The work replaces the two concrete bridges which have carried the A3057 Romsey Road over the M27 since the 1970s. The structures’ bearings had failed and cracks were seen in the concrete beams.
The project began in April last year with demolition of the western bridge last autumn. The new 1,069-tonne bridge was constructed beside the motorway and lifted into place last June, with work completed more than a day ahead of schedule.
Since then utilities have been transferred from the remaining old eastern bridge to the new one, which successfully opened to vehicles and pedestrians on 5th December.
A Highways Agency spokesman said diversion routes would be the same as those enforced during the first weekend closure in September 2018.
The eastbound diversion comprises a number of different routes, depending on direction and the type of vehicle.
These are comparatively short, from Junction 2 (Ower) via Romsey, North Baddesley and Chilworth for HGVs, joined by light traffic diverted from Junction 3 (M271).
But for all westbound traffic heading for the Forest and beyond coming from M27 in the Southampton area, the diversion route uses the M3 north past Winchester, the A34 to Bullington Cross, the A303 past Andover to Amesbury, down the A345 into Salisbury and on to the A36 towards the M27 at J2 (Ower) – a total of more than 70 miles.
Romsey Road – the A3057 – will also be closed across the bridge for safety reasons during the work, starting earlier from 9pm on the Friday. This applies to all road users including vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.
A signed diversion will be in place via the Chilworth Roundabout and North Baddesley.