MOTORISTS face delays on the M3 due to a £8.5million project to save two bridges near Hook from corrosion.

The Highways Agency wants to replace bridge deck joints on the motorway where it passes over Totters Lane and Winchfield Road.

The work started yesterday and is expected to last until August this year. It will involve managing motorway traffic using a contraflow system, with narrow lanes and an enforced 50mph speed limit.

Michael Goddard, Highways Agency project sponsor, said: “We will be refurbishing two bridges to prolong the life of the structures and provide the tens of thousands of drivers that rely on this route with safe and reliable journeys.

“We have planned the work to keep three lanes of traffic open to traffic in each direction during peak times to minimise disruption.”

Surfacing work will also take place. The agency said any overnight closures will be publicised in advance and will lead to a diversion via the A287, A30 and A327.

If the project lasts until August this year, as expected, it could overlap with a multi-million project to revamp the Black Dam roundabout at junction six of the M3.

The Highways Agency wants to create the town’s first “hamburger” roundabout, with the A339 ring road cutting through the centre of the roundabout to connect with the junction six slip road.

Preliminary work has already started, but most of the project will start in July and last until March next year.