Drivers face more travel chaos as major road is shut

SLOW GOING Drivers faced long delays on the A3M at the weekend.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (110885-6630)
SLOW GOING Drivers faced long delays on the A3M at the weekend. Picture: Malcolm Wells (110885-6630)
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DRIVERS faced another weekend of traffic jam misery as a major route into Portsmouth was closed.

Queues built up for more than two miles as the bridge that connects the southbound A3M to the A27 was closed.

Cars were left queuing for at least 30 minutes as they trickled on to the diversion route.

It is the second weekend the southbound A3M has been closed by the Highways Agency as it undertakes maintenance work, which began last month and is due to finish in May.

The bridge closed at 10pm on Friday and reopened at 6am today.

The agency said it is due to close the bridge again this weekend, as well as one more weekend at a date to be decided.

Some Pompey fans struggled to get to the game on time on Saturday.

Tony Edwards, from Waterlooville, said: ‘I travelled from Waterlooville to watch Pompey with my son.

‘Traffic was an absolute nightmare – it took well over an hour.

‘It usually takes 25 minutes max.

‘If I’d known the motorway was closed I’d have given myself more time.’

Traffic was diverted at junction 5 on to the Broadmarsh Interchange, where it joined the A27 westbound.

Bedhampton resident David Webb said: ‘It was chaos on the roads up there.

‘A lot of residents are resigned to it and taking the back roads.

‘It’s probably mostly affecting the people coming down to Portsmouth for the day.’

The work is to replace a deteriorating 30-year-old expansion joint in the bridge.

The Highways Agency defended its decision to close the bridge at weekends.

It was originally looking at closing the bridge for up to four weeks.

Spokesman James Wright said: ‘We are very sorry for the people who have been caught up in delays.

‘But the work needs to be done.

‘It’s a big job and can only be carried out with the closure of the bridge.

‘By carrying out the work overnight and at weekends, we are keeping disruption to a minimum.

‘It’s something we take very seriously keeping traffic flowing. We think we are doing this work in the best way possible.’

There are no plans to close the bridge over Easter or the May Bank Holiday.