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MOTORISTS in Southampton will face fresh traffic disruption when the Itchen Bridge is shut for five nights.

Resurfacing work will see the bridge closed to traffic from 7pm to 5.30am for nine nights next month. But the city council has warned the work may take longer due to poor weather conditions.

The work means bus operator First has made a number of changes to its timetable.

The project to revamp the bridge began in October, and caused major delays for motorists using it during rush hour.

It is part of a £1.7 million project approved by the Labour council’s Cabinet to create a cycle superhighway from Woolston to the city centre.

The bridge will be closed overnight from February 2 to 6, on February 9, and from February 11 to 13.

Signed diversion routes via Peartree Avenue and Northam Bridge will be in place. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use the bridge.

The Itchen Bridge and Salt-marsh junction on the western side of the bridge, which has been closed since October, will reopen over the weekend of February 15 and 16.

A spokesman for the council said the bridge closure was essential to complete the new junction layout and add line markings before the reopening of the junction.

The spokesman added: “Diversion routes will be signed and can also be found on the council website.

“To minimise disruption, other major planned work in the area has been delayed, including the excavation work at the Orchard Place/Platform Road Junction that will start once the Saltmarsh Road junction has reopened.

“We envisage that these will be the only times that Itchen Bridge will be closed as part of these works, however this schedule could change if we encounter difficult weather conditions.”

First has revised the time-tables for eight of its bus services which use the bridge. Most services will be diverted away from the bridge and instead go via Northam Bridge during the evenings, causing delays to journey times.

Service 6 to Hamble in the early morning will start at Portsmouth Road in Woolston at 5.19am instead of the city centre at 5.10am.

Chrissie Bainbridge, general manager at First Hampshire, said: “We are sorry for any inconvenience this will cause to our customers, but we are doing all we can to minimise disruption to our services while the bridge’s resurfacing work is carried out.

“We will issue updates on our website and via Twitter and Facebook throughout the bridge closure, so customers are aware of any further changes to their services.”

Find out full information on the revised timetables at first group.com/ukbus/hampshire.