WORK to replace a historic railway bridge is due to begin today, closing a major route through Portsmouth.
Northern Road Bridge in Cosham Portsmouth, is closed to most vehicles for the next five months.
Only buses, taxis, council and emergency services vehicles will be allowed through the road while workers demolish and replace the eastern side of the structure, which dates from 1927.
One lane will be kept open and operated by traffic lights.
Cyclists will be asked to push their bikes on the pavement.
Traffic travelling north and south of the city will be diverted via Western Road and Southampton Road.
Project manager Ashley Chaplin said ‘Western Road and Southampton Road have been chosen as the advised diversion route as they have the best infrastructure to cope with the extra traffic, he said. ‘Unfortunately this necessary work is going to cause some disruption but we are working to minimise this for everyone.
‘We apologise for the inconvenience and thank residents for their patience during the work.
‘Our traffic management team will be paying particularly close attention to the areas likely to be affected by the bridge work and they will adjust traffic light phasing times to keep everything flowing as best as possible.’
Council workers are out warning motorists about the changes at the roundabout in Wayte Street and near the turning of Northern Road in the first few day.
Drivers are being advised not to cut through Eastern Road to other parts of the city.
Changes to the road network have already been put in place with a one-way system put in for the duration of the bridge closure.
Cars driving north up High Street, Cosham, are being diverted via Vectis Way and Wootton Street.
As previously reported, the council was awarded £11m from the government to replace the bridge in 2011 and it will inject £1m of its own funds into the scheme.
The work is necessary because an inspection carried out on the bridge in 2005 revealed it was in a poor condition.
The bridge will re-open after the 20 weeks is over and the rest of the work will be done in phases and finished by winter next year.