The Itchen Bridge is set to close for eight weeks this summer as it undergoes the most significant set of maintenance works since it opened.

The iconic bridge, a key route in and out of the city, will be closed to motorists from July 15 to September 6.

The planned maintenance will include drainage improvements, resurfacing works and the installation of suicide prevention measures.

It comes after the city council confirmed it would upgrade the bridge in 2022 with £3.8m worth of funding.

Though the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists, the announcement has sparked anger among residents with many saying it will be "a nightmare" to drive around the city.

Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, told the Echo: "While I understand the need to maintain the Itchen Bridge, I do question the timing.

Daily Echo: Southampton Itchen MP, Royston SmithSouthampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith

“The Itchen Bridge is the main arterial route into the city and a closure of this length will cause traffic chaos elsewhere.

“Perhaps the work could be phased so that work is done during the night or on weekends.”

He added: “Motorists are already penalised enough, and this closure will be yet another challenge for businesses, workers and cruise passengers when they can ill afford this sort of disruption."

But taxi driver Perry McMillan, who recently put forward a bid to change the lights on the Itchen Bridge, said the bridge is vital for cutting congestion across the city.

“The closure might remind people that paying for the toll helps keep traffic congestion down in the city,” he said.

“I think when the maintenance work is over, we’ll all appreciate the Itchen Bridge that bit more.”

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As well as cars, buses, and cyclists, coach drivers also rely on the Itchen Bridge when driving into Southampton city centre – both to and from long distance journeys.

A spokesperson for National Express said: “Our coach services running to and from Southampton will use Northam Bridge while Itchen Bridge is closed for maintenance works.”

They added: “There may be slight delays to journey times due to increased congestion on the roads, however no stops will be affected as a result of the closure.

“Our network planning team will monitor the situation and amend routes as necessary to ensure as little impact as possible for our customers.”

A planned schedule for the works and more information on diversion routes will be available in due course, the council said.

  • If you're affected by any of the issues mentioned in this report, call the Samaritans on the free helpline 116 123