THE COMPLETION of the multi-million-pound A35 Holmsley bridge project could be delayed for at least another month due to nesting birds.

Motorists and road users were left confused earlier this week when Google Maps showed no closure on Station Road passing under the new bridge at Holmsley – only for the closure alert to return with the indication it will be in place until July 22.

The C10 Station Road has remained shut underneath the main road, which was reopened on April 11, despite assurances that the C10 would also be ready shortly afterwards.

Upon enquiries, it has been established the reopening has been delayed due to recently hatched chicks nesting beneath a bridge support.

A Hampshire County Council spokesperson said: “While it had been planned to open Station Road earlier in April, this has not been possible as work to move an overhanging temporary support on the west side of the bridge has had to be rescheduled because of birds nesting underneath the support.

Daily Echo: Closure on the C10 Station Road under the A35 Holmsley BridgeClosure on the C10 Station Road under the A35 Holmsley Bridge

“The provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 require the nest to remain undisturbed until the chicks leave. The nest is being closely monitored [by an ecologist] and the work will proceed as soon as the chicks have left.

“On the A35, the temporary traffic signals have now changed to two-way control and have been moved north of the A35 to enable the installation of new safety barriers, completion of outstanding drainage works, and to allow Vodafone to finish diverting their services.”

A temporary buffer zone has also been created to avoid working too close to the nest and disturbing the birds. The diversion route for Station Road remains in operation and the Old Station Tea Rooms remain open for business.

Earlier this month, contractors Knights Brown said full completion for the works was still scheduled for June. However, the latest delay could mean running over into July.

The A35 has been closed for months, forcing motorists to take lengthy diversions and experience prolonged journeys at the same time as work on the A31 at Ringwood.