A RAILWAY bridge in Portsmouth is set to be replaced in just five days in a £2.7m Network Rail operation.
Network Rail said the current bridge, at Burnaby Road, is 142 years old and is no longer strong enough.
Next month a new crossing will be installed, with buses running between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth and Southsea stations.
Stuart Kistruck, director of route asset management for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: 'This crossing is a very important part of our network – 113,000 trains pass over it every year carrying 4 million passengers.
'After such heavy traffic over such a long period of time, the old bridge is not strong enough. Investing £2.7 million to replace it now as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan will mean we can provide a reliable service for our passengers for the future.
'We thank people for their patience while we carry out this work.
'We know it will be disruptive and we are doing all we can to keep that to a minimum.'
The new bridge will be painted in the colours of the Portsmouth crest.
Freight is already restricted from going over the bridge to its deterioration.
Alan Penlington, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said: 'We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause while Portsmouth Harbour station is closed for Network Rail to carry out these vital works.
'Modernising the bridge and tracks will mean we can reliably run our services in this key area of the railway for many more years to come, which will ultimately benefit passenger journeys.
'During the works, buses will replace all trains between Portsmouth and Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour.
'Those travelling to the Isle of Wight will also need to allow extra time for their connections.
'We’re doing all we can to minimise disruption and make sure we get all our customers to their destination during this time but strongly advise they plan ahead and check our website before they travel.'
A limited service will be in place from 8pm on February 11 until the line closes at 1.15am on February 12. It re-opens at 6am on February 17.
Replacement buses will run every 10 minutes from 6am to 11.20pm during the closures, while Portsmouth Harbour station remains open.
Burnaby Road and Park Road will be closed to allow access for heavy machinery and equipment. Diversions will be in place.