THE Silver Jubilee Bridge will be closed southbound until major works are completed.

Motorists are being warned of delays as traffic from Widnes to Runcorn is being diverted onto the Mersey Gateway.

Traffic has been queueing on Mersey Road in West Bank since the closure came into effect on Thursday.

Halton Council has apologised for any inconvenience this may cause.

In a statement, the council said: “The Silver Jubilee Bridge is currently closed to traffic from the A656 Speke Road in Widnes to the A533 Bridgewater Expressway in Runcorn.

“This has been ongoing since Thursday morning.

“Vehicles travelling from Widnes to Runcorn should use the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

“The bridge will be closed until works are completed on the A533 Central Expressway.”

Drivers had already been experiencing delays as temporary traffic lights have been in place on the Silver Jubilee Bridge since January for a major maintenance scheme.

This contract includes painting to the steelwork below the main deck of the  bridge and involved access scaffolding to be erected across the suspended span over the river.

The working areas have been fully encapsulated to maintain a controlled working environment and minimise the noise and emissions associated with removal of the existing paint system.

The main contractor for the work is Balvac, which has undertaken many significant schemes on the bridge for the council.

The work is part of a capital programme funded by the Liverpool City Regional Combined Authority and is scheduled for completion in July.