UK

Hampshire M27 closure: ‘Total disaster’ traffic congestion warning

M27 bridge demolition in Sept 2018 Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Half of the bridge was demolished in September 2018

Motorists have been warned to expect “severe congestion” with the weekend closure of a motorway in Hampshire.

Part of the M27 near Southampton will be shut from Friday evening until Monday morning to allow a bridge to be demolished.

The work coincides with disruption to train services following a derailment at Eastleigh on Tuesday.

Romsey Town Council said traffic could be worse than during the “total disaster” of a closure in 2019.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption A new bridge was installed alongside the old one in June 2019
Image caption Project manager Andrew Winson said the motorway closure would cause traffic delays

The work is the final stage of a £19m project to replace the A3057 Romsey Road bridge.

Highways England said bearings supporting the 1970s structure had failed and the bridge beams had developed cracks.

A previous weekend closure in June 2019, to install a new bridge alongside the old one, caused gridlock on roads around Southampton.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Motorists have faced a 55-mile diversion route during previous closures

Highways England said the motorway would be shut between Junctions 3 and 4 from about 21:00 GMT on Friday until the early hours of Monday morning.

Project manager Andrew Winson said: “That is expected to cause severe congestion in the area.

“It’s going to be a longer operation than when we demolished [the western half of the bridge] in September 2018.”

Image caption The rail line between Southampton and Basingstoke has been blocked by a derailed freight train

Highways England’s westbound diversion route shows the same 55-mile detour via the M3 and the A303 that was implemented for previous phases of the work.

Eastbound traffic would again be diverted through the town of Romsey.

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Romsey town centre manager Mark Edgerley said the congestion would cause “serious inconvenience”.

He said: “The previous closure in 2019 was a total disaster.

“I’m expecting it to be worse because there will be a lot of people heading to London who’ve now not got the train option.”

The rail line between Southampton and Basingstoke has been blocked since a freight train derailed on Tuesday.

Network Rail previously said disruption to train services could continue until Monday.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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