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Drivers around Portsmouth are being advised to plan their journeys as a Highways Agency scheme to replace an important component on a bridge on the A3(M) in Hampshire gets underway.
An expansion joint is being replaced on the Farlington Viaduct, which carries traffic southbound on the A3(M) from junction 5 to the westbound A27. Safety barriers in the central reservation around junction 5 will also be replaced as part of the scheme, which starts next Monday (21 February).
The work will require regular overnight closures of the bridge, and a number of full weekend closures.
Highways Agency structures manager Steve Cobb said:
"The A3(M) Farlington viaduct is a vital transport link for Hampshire, and is used by more than 140,000 vehicles every day. This essential work will help keep the bridge in a safe and serviceable condition for years to come.
"Bridge joints are designed to be replaced from time to time. They help to keep the bridge in good structural condition by allowing it to expand and contract with seasonal changes in temperature without putting strain on any of its permanent components. The current joint has been in place since the viaduct was built in the 1970s, and replacing it now will reduce the risk of unplanned, disruptive maintenance in the future."
"The project has been carefully planned to keep disruption to an absolute minimum."
Work on replacing the joint will start on Monday 21 February, and is expected to take eleven weeks to complete. During the week, work will be carried out overnight, between 10pm and 6am, when traffic flows are lowest, with longer closures on selected weekends, between 10pm on Fridays and 6am on Mondays, for bigger sections of work. Up to eight of these weekend closures will be required in total, and they will be announced in advance.
Outside these times the bridge will remain open to traffic with narrow lanes and a temporary ramp over the bridge joint. For safety reasons there will be a reduced speed limit of 40mph, enforced by average speed cameras.
Whenever the bridge is closed, a short, fully signed diversion route will be in place directing traffic off the southbound A3(M) at junction 5 and to the westbound A27 via the Bedhampton roundabout.
Work to upgrade the safety barrier at junction 5 will be carried out alongside the joint replacement work, with narrow lanes and a temporary 50mph speed limit on the northbound carriageway. This work is expected to take three weeks to complete.