DETAILED plans to replace and expand a busy Southampton bridge as part of a multimillion-pound scheme have been unveiled.

Northam Rail Bridge could be replaced with a new dual carriageway bridge.

The move would be part of a project expected to cost between £60m and £70m.

Daily Echo: Northam Rail Bridge Photomontage - This is what Northam Rail Bridge could look like. (Note: this is only illustrative at this stage).

As part of the scheme, the nearby footbridge that connects to St Mary’s Stadium would also be replaced.

The junctions at either side of Northam Rail Bridge – near Britannia Road and Brinton’s Road – would instead be upgraded “with better facilities” for buses and people walking and cycling.

Further details are yet to be revealed but city leaders have confirmed that work could begin in 2025.

Northam Rail Bridge is currently a single carriageway bridge that carries the A3024 over the main railway into Southampton.

Southampton City Council said it is working with Network Rail to secure funding from central government “to renew and enhance the bridge and ensure its long term future”.

The plans were initially consulted on in 2017 as part of a Highways England project to improve parts of the M27.

But they were subsequently withdrawn from the wider scheme.

The city council said it has since taken on the role of project sponsor to try to secure the funding for the bridge works.

Daily Echo:

In a statement the authority said: “Currently we are progressing a business case with government and are awaiting a decision from them on the first stage of this process.”

If approved, the council would then draw up detailed proposals and try to secure match funding towards the scheme.

A public consultation would be held in 2022-23, the authority said.

But exact dates are yet to be confirmed.

Cllr Jeremy Moulton, deputy leader and cabinet member for growth, said: “The Northam Rail Bridge is a strategically important part of our city’s road network and requires substantial investment to ensure that it is fit for the future and tackle this significant traffic pinch point.

“Together with our partners, we are working hard to make the case for funding from central government. If awarded, this will help us to significantly improve the standard of the bridge and enhance access for all modes of travel on this important route to the east of the city.”

Jacqui Rayment, councillor for Bevois ward, said: “This is something that has been investigated for a number of years. Projects like these take years and I’m delighted it’s one step closer. It will support all residents whether they are cycling walking or coming in to the city by car.”