ESSENTIAL work to repair one of Hampshire’s busiest road bridges is set to continue from tonight.

Engineers will shut off Redbridge Viaduct again this weekend as work continues to save the bridge from crumbling.

Drivers travelling westbound between Southampton and Totton will face a 15 minute diversion, onto the M27, in order to get to the Hampshire town.

The diversion, for westbound traffic only, will start at 8pm tonight and remain in place until 5am on Monday.

Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council said: “I’m pleased to say we’ve made good progress.

“This weekend, highways teams will start resurfacing the road across the Viaduct and the on and off slip roads.”

As previously reported in the Echo, work started on the 1960s built Redbridge Viaduct in November.

The work restarted last weekend after a Christmas break – put in place to avoid the closures impacting on festive shoppers.

County transport bosses expect the £1.2 million project to continue for another two weekends.

Road chiefs say without carrying out the repairs, to the bridge’s 21 joints, the authority would have been forced to impose weight limits by autumn this year.

The project is part of a £20 million scheme to save the wider Redbridge Causeway.

Transport chiefs say they were forced to carry out the scheme, dubbed the “biggest road maintenance project in Hampshire’s history”, because the bridge’s joints are leaking salty water.

This has caused cracks in the base of the structure, exposing its metal supports.

The county council’s chief engineer for highway structures, Brian Hill, previously told the Echo: “If we didn’t do something we would have to impose weight restrictions on the heaviest lorries and then buses and eventually cars.

“We know the work is going to cause disruption but it will be better than closing it off all together.”

As well as the bridge, the team will also resurface the road between the Viaduct and Rushington roundabout

Once completed, road chiefs will look to schedule work on the base of the structure.

That work, costing £7million, is expected to begin in summer.

The remaining £12million will be spent on further repairs, including maintenance work to the eastbound bridge.