DRIVERS are bracing themselves as six months of vital repairs begin on a city centre bridge today – but there’s plenty more to come.

The Daily Echo can today reveal that the closure that is set to cause a traffic headache for thousands of motorists is part of a multi-million pound scheme to repair six bridges across the city.

As previously reported, road bosses have warned drivers to expect delays as Central Bridge is shut for six months.

But this is just the beginning as Southampton City Council has secured Government cash to carry out repairs to the Millbrook flyover, Redbridge flyover, the Western Approach Rail Bridge, Northam Bridge and Vicarage Bridge – and all must be completed by March next year.

The money to pay for most of the repairs comes from ‘Pinch Point’ funding, which was secured by Southampton City Council after they bid for it in February last year.

The work will be carried out by Balfour Beatty in partnership with Southampton City Council.

Southampton City Council has not revealed the total cost of the entire scheme and the funding is subject to all of them being completed by March.

The repairs to Central Bridge will cost nearly £1.7m, with £850,000 of this from the Government.

The rest of the money will come from different sources including the Regional Growth Fund (£350,000), Local Transport Plan (£150,000) and (£300,000) from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Currently the city’s transport network is in the midst of major repairs as £20m of improvement work on the railway between Southampton Central and Redbridge – which means passengers have to use a rail-replacement bus service at weekends until May.

Meanwhile, another major council project to create a dual carriageway has seen continual roadworks on Platform Road near Town Quay.

There are also roadworks between Marsh Lane to Bernard Street that will end in May, for the replacement of the Central Bridge and Saltmarsh Road roundabout with a traffic signal controlled junction.