M27 closure: 'Significant delays' expected as new bridge installed
Drivers face major disruption during the weekend closure of a motorway in Hampshire as a new 1,000-tonne bridge is installed.
The M27 will shut between junction 3, for the M271, and junction 4, for the M3, from 22:00 BST for works on Romsey Road Bridge.
Hampshire County Council has warned of "significant delays" in Southampton where five cruise ships will be docked.
The motorway is not due to reopen until 05:00 on Monday.
The county council said signed diversions would be in place via Southampton, Chilworth, North Baddesley and Romsey. The A3057 will remain open during the Highways England works.
"There will be five cruise ships docked in Southampton on Saturday and as such we expect significant delays to journey times in and around the city so please do plan ahead," said Jacqui Rayment, head of transport at the authority.
Southampton City Council tweeted: "We expect all routes to be very busy so please plan ahead."
Andrew Winson, of Highways England, said the installation of the new bridge marked a "major milestone" in the project, which began in spring last year.
"Our approach to replacing this bridge has meant that we can avoid months of disruption on the M27 and carry out the big operations over three weekends, spread out over time," he said.
However, he admitted it would still "inevitably cause disruption this weekend".
He advised motorists to pack extra water due to predicted hot weather. Temperatures in Hampshire are expected to reach 31C (88F) on Saturday.
The new 47m-long (154ft) and 16m-wide (52ft) bridge was built off-site and will be lifted into place from the carriageway by remote-controlled lorries.
This is the second of three weekend closures of the M27 as part of the project, due to end in January.