DRIVERS using one of the busiest roads in the New Forest are set to face almost a month of roadworks.

It follows Hampshire County Council's decision to replace an ageing bridge on the A35 Lyndhurst and Christchurch route and re-align a 380-metre section of the carriageway.

The county council has announced that "major preliminary work" is due to start on Monday.

Drivers using the Holmsley stretch of the A35 will encounter a lane closure during off-peak hours - 9.30am to 4pm - and temporary two-way traffic lights.

The bridge carries the A35 over a former railway line which closed in the 1960s and is now a road from Brockenhurst to Burley.

Cllr Rob Humby is the county council's deputy leader and its executive member for economy, transport and environment.

He said: “We need to prepare the site before we replace the bridge.

"This work will include clearance of trees and vegetation, followed by the installation of temporary timber fencing at the boundary between the works area and New Forest land.

"To minimise future disruption to those travelling in the area, Openreach BT will undertake their timber pole relocation at the same time.”

As reported in the Daily Echo, work to replace the 112-year-old bridge is due to start towards the end of the summer.

Speaking last month Cllr Humby said: "We have been monitoring this bridge since it became the county council’s responsibility in 2012. It has now deteriorated to the point where replacement is the only viable option."

A new bridge will be built alongside the existing one, which will then be removed.

Highway chiefs say the work will be completed by the end of June 2022 to reduce its impact on the tourist season.

Cllr Humby stressed that the county council was working with other organisations "to make sure the scheme is carried out sensitively in this unique part of Hampshire".

He added: “Local councillors, nearby residents and local businesses have been contacted and this will continue during the construction phases."

The preliminary work is due to be completed by February 5, weather permitting.