MOTORISTS are being warned to expect delays from tonight as part of the M27 is shut for a weekend of roadworks.

It is the latest in a long list of works taking place along the major stretch of road.

What is happening?

A new footbridge is being installed across the M27 near Fareham.

As a result, drivers wanting to travel along the route between Junction 9 at Whiteley and 11 at Fareham will instead be diverted.

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

When is this happening?

This weekend.

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

What is the diversion?

As the images show below, drivers for both eastbound and westbound traffic are being sent on to the A27.

Romsey Advertiser: The Westbound diversionThe Westbound diversion

Romsey Advertiser: The Eastbound diversionThe Eastbound diversion

What's been said?

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.”

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."

When was the last major closure of the M27?

Good question - quite recently actually, when another bridge was replaced near Southampton.

So, drivers will be hoping these latest works will not produce the sort of traffic chaos seen during three weekend closures caused by the replacement of the Romsey Road bridge.

The most recent shutdown took place in February this year.

This resulted in misery for motorists as long tailbacks built up in Southampton, Romsey and North Baddesley.