Relief as start of bridge work goes off without hitch

WORKS Access to Northern Road Bridge has been closed for 20 weeks. Picture: Sarah Standing (13390-7018)
WORKS Access to Northern Road Bridge has been closed for 20 weeks. Picture: Sarah Standing (13390-7018)
Chirk Aqueduct and railway viaduct.

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FEARS of traffic chaos proved unfounded during the first day of the closure of Portsmouth’s Northern Road Bridge.

Council workers were out in force all of yesterday ensuring motorists were aware of the restrictions placed on the route in Cosham.

Around 50 cars were turned away during the morning and told they needed to follow diversion routes via Western Road and Southampton Road.

Normally, 1,600 vehicles an hour travel over the bridge, which has been closed to traffic for 20 weeks while part of it is demolished and replaced.

Buses, ambulances and other public service vehicles can still cross.

Three workers kept an eye on traffic flow at the bottom of Northern Road, near Wayte Street Roundabout, and an extra 17 people and large signs informing people about the closure were dotted about.

The work didn’t cause problems in other parts of the city including Eastern Road as the council adjusted the timing of traffic lights according to traffic flow from its traffic management office at the civic offices.

Yellow signs on Western Road informed people of the diversion route to Lynx House, in Northern Road.

Ashley Chaplin, Northern Road Bridge project manager, stayed in Cosham from 5am until 9pm to ensure things ran smoothly.

He said he was pleased to see that traffic had remained calm.

‘The roads have been very clear,’ he said.

‘It seems the message has got across and people are avoiding the area, though I do want to stress that we don’t want people to avoid Cosham and its shops.

‘We kept an eye on traffic flow at Spur Road Roundabout and Allaway Avenue but thankfully there weren’t any problems.’

But the council has warned people not to assume the roads in the area will remain quiet.

A council spokesman said: ‘Motorists should expect delays in Cosham and, if they are just travelling through the area, they should look at alternative routes where possible.’

Yesterday, one of the bridge’s lanes was marked out ready for it to be broken up and hoisted out by a crane in a few weeks’ time.

Concrete which is part of the bridge’s underside will be then reinforced.

New metal sheets will be fitted along the sides of the bridge some time later this month.

The bridge’s foundations have already been replaced.