THIS weekend, Salisbury drivers are warned to be prepared for long queues as motorway traffic is pushed into the city as part of a 55-mile diversion.

Starting this evening from 10pm, motorists will be told to take the division as the M27 motorway is closed due to the final stage of a £19 million bridge replacement project outside of Southampton.

It will then reopen on Monday morning at 5am.

Salisbury Journal:

Highways chiefs have been accused of risking a repeat of the jams which hit Salisbury when the same section of the major route was closed in 2018.

Now drivers will be told to take the same 55-mile detour when the motorway shuts again to enable engineers to complete the scheme.

Motorists heading west on the M27 will have to join the M3 and travel via Winchester, Andover and Salisbury before finally rejoining the motorway at Ower.

It comes after the works were pushed back by two weeks.

However, the diversion, it is believed, will be more for heavy goods vehicles to follow, rather than regular cars, bikes, and vans.

This same route was used during a similar weekend closure in September 2018.

At the time, Highway bosses were urged to rethink the diversion, and during a second M27 closure earlier this year westbound traffic only had to travel as far north as Winchester before doubling back via Romsey.

Highways England described the new routes as the “best possible arrangement”.

However, Highways England has decided to revert to the original diversion for the third and final closure of the M27 - used by 140,000 vehicles a day - which will see it shut in both directions between junctions 3 and 4.

Eastbound traffic will have to leave the M27 at Ower and go through Romsey before joining the M3 near Winchester - a much shorter journey than the one faced by people travelling west.