The Itchen Bridge will no longer close this summer, Southampton City Council has announced.

The authority has said that over the past few months, it has carried out surveys and as a result, the bridge will not need to be closed over the summer.

It comes after the council announced earlier this year that the bridge would close for eight weeks for maintenance.

The first phase of works will still take place, focusing on installing new safety fencing and preparation for phase two of the works.

The bridge will still need to be closed at a point in the future for the replacement of the drainage system and resurfacing of the bridge. This date has not been confirmed.

READ MORE: Itchen Bridge to close for eight weeks this summer

Trade representatives for taxi drivers and private hire vehicles, as well as Southapton Itchen MP Royston Smith, have welcomed the decision.

'Victory for common sense'

Perry McMillan, shop steward for Unite Union and a cab driver, said: “It’s absolutely delighting news. We were dreading it as it was going to cause traffic chaos around the city.

“It would not only impact normal drivers but for us with our livelihood, it would really affect our trade.

“This is a victory for common sense and I applaud Southampton City Council for taking the right action.”

He said any bridge closure should done overnight to cause the least effect on drivers.

Southampton-based Ali Haydor, GMB National Representative for taxi and private hire, said: “Not closing the Itchen Bridge for maintenance this summer means taxi and private hire drivers can keep working without interruptions, ensuring consistent income and reliable service for passengers.”

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The importance of the Itchen Bridge Maintenance Project cannot be understated; however, we do appreciate that it will have a very significant impact on local people and as such are committed to communicating key updates and milestones as soon as practicably possible with the condition that details are subject to change as new information becomes available.”

Mr Smith said: “This will be a relief to those that need to get in and out of the city.

“There were many of us who felt that the required works could be phased or done overnight.

“I’m pleased the council have now seen sense and our beleaguered motorists will no doubt feel the same.”