THE proposed division route for motorists for next weekend's M27 closure has been announced.

Drivers wanting to travel along the major route between Junction 9 at Whiteley and 11 at Fareham have instead been diverted through the nearby Fareham, as works are carried out to install a new bridge.

The diversions for both eastbound and westbound traffic will use the A27.

The scheme is part of a £244m project to convert a 15-mile stretch of the M27 into a smart motorway.

The installation of the North Fareham footbridge will result in the route being closed from 9pm on Friday, September 4 until 6am on Monday, September 7.

Cranes will be used to lift the prefabricated bridge into position.

Romsey Advertiser: The Westbound diversionThe Westbound diversion

Romsey Advertiser: The Eastbound diversionThe Eastbound diversion

A Highways England spokesman said: "As we continue to upgrade the M27 between Junctions 4 and 11 to modern motorway standard, we will be installing the new footbridge, which will be situated between Junctions 10 and 11 of the M27.

"The installation will require a full closure of the M27 between Junctions 9 and 11 (including access off and on to the M27 at Junction 10) during this time.

"The closure dates may be subject to change owing to operational requirements or adverse weather conditions. Diversion routes will be clearly signposted."

As reported, the leader of Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Sean Woodward, said: "The M27 smart motorway scheme is a major infrastructure project and it's unsurprising it involves a few short closures for bridge replacement work.

"I urge people to plan their journeys using an appropriate diversion and consider whether they actually need to travel that weekend.”

Drivers are hoping it will not produce the sort of traffic chaos seen in the Southampton area during three weekend closures caused by the replacement of the Romsey Road bridge.

The first shutdown took place in September 2018.

Parts of Southampton were paralysed as drivers cut through the city to avoid a 55-mile detour which turned what was normally a short drive into a two-hour loop around Hampshire.

Another closure occurred in June last year, when the motorway reopened 36 hours ahead of schedule.

But even the comparatively short shutdown resulted in another day of traffic chaos in Southampton and surrounding towns, with drivers sweltering in cars stuck in 80-minute queues.

The final closure in February meant more misery for motorists as long tailbacks built up in Southampton, Romsey and North Baddesley.