ENGINEERS will be back working on £25m of repairs to the main road link between the New Forest and Southampton early in the New Year.
The latest operation on the Redbridge causeway, which carries the A35 over the River Test, will kick off on 6th January. It is set to take between 18 and 20 months to complete, with progress dependant on the weather.
Hampshire County Council said there were no plans to shut the route to traffic but warned there would be occasional lane closures during off-peak hours and for “emergency situations”.
However, the footway on the southern side of the 270-metre westbound viaduct will be closed for about four months. The exact dates will be announced later and a signed diversion for pedestrians put in place.
On the Southampton side of the River Test, Test Lane and Old Redbridge Road will be shut to traffic to facilitate works.
An HCC spokesperson said: “Due to its age, the harsh marine environment and the large volumes of traffic that use this bridge it now requires essential repairs to the concrete supports.”
The upcoming operation is the second of three phases to strengthen the structure which have been weakened by the elements. The first was completed last year.
Work will focus on more than 100 supports for the separate viaduct and bridge that carry the A35 dual carriageway in both directions.
A cathodic protection system will be installed to extend the lifespan of the structures by controlling metal corrosion.
The council has appointed engineering firm Skanska to carry out the next stage of repairs which it says is vital to avoid having to impose weight and speed limits.
As reported in the A&T, the crossing is at the centre of a row between the government and Hampshire County Council which wants extra funding to meet the £25m repair bill.
HCC has spent £8.4m on the first phase of work. This next one is estimated at £8.5m.
Cllr Rob Humby, HCC’s cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, has insisted the council is only “underwriting” the cost for the government.
Find out more about the operation at www.hants.gov.uk/transport/transportschemes/a35essentialworks.