DRIVERS have been warned of delays for the rest of today and overnight as emergency repairs take place on the M3. 

National Highways will be carrying out emergency bridge work which will affect traffic heading northbound towards Junction 11. 

Lanes 1 and 2 are currently closed between Juntion 12 and Junction 11, causing long delays in the area. 

It has now been revealed that the closure is due to ongoing repairs to an "infrastructure defect" to the Shawford railway bridge. 

READ MORE: Traffic held on M3 between Chandler's Ford and Winchester after incident

Lane 3 is set to remain open throughout the work but motorists have been warned to avoid the area and look for alternative routes. 

The road is expected to fully reopen "as soon as possible".

Rob Bell, South East Network Operations Manager for National Highways, said: “We thank people for their patience while we repair the defect and reopen the road.

"The defect was identified during a routine inspection of the bridge and for your safety we established the defect posed a risk to the travelling public so took immediate steps to close the lanes affected.  

“In the meantime, drivers should leave extra time for their journeys or find an alternative route.” 

Engineers are currently working to get the equipment, specialist contractors and materials required to the scene to repair the bridge. 

Delays of 85 minute were reported earlier today when traffic was held on the northbound carriageway as a result of the defect. 

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