Details on the scheme to replace a key road bridge in Southampton which carries around 27,000 vehicles a day could be unveiled to the public later this year.

The outline business case for the A3024 Northam Rail Bridge has received government approval.

Southampton City Council said significant investment is needed to ensure its long-term future.

The single carriageway road in and out of the east of the city centre is more than 100 years old.

Work on the scheme has been developing for several years.

The project is reliant on government funding from the Major Road Network programme due to its size and nature.

The local authority’s capital programme said the Department for Transport awarded funding to support the development of the outline business case, with £2.32 million to be spent on the scheme this year.

Providing an update on the Northam Rail Bridge project, a Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “The outline business case for the project has been approved by the government, demonstrating their confidence in our city’s economic growth and making a big investment in improving our infrastructure to ensure that it is resilient for the future.

“The next stage will be to continue to develop the business case with our partners, and, later in the year, to engage with stakeholders and the public on the proposals for this important new crossing.”

The bridge replacement is included in the government’s Network North scheme of £36 billion of transport investment, which was announced after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak scrapped the Birmingham to Manchester phase of HS2.

In November 2021, the city council released plans for a dual carriageway replacement bridge, which was expected to cost between £60million and £70million.

The spokesperson said the bridge was a “key connection” linking the city centre and the port with people living and working in the eastern suburbs of the city and the M27 at junction 8.

They added: “The council and its partners, Network Rail and Transport for South East, are seeking funding to replace the bridge with a new and enhanced crossing that is fit for the current and future needs of Southampton’s travellers.

“We have been developing the scheme through the government’s Major Road Network programme, and this has been accelerated by the Network North scheme.”

Heritage watchdogs added the bridge to its Buildings at Risk register last summer.