Surrey: M3 footbridge may not be replaced for two years
A motorway footbridge in Surrey is to be demolished next month and may not be replaced for up to two years.
National Highways closed the pedestrian bridge over the M3 between Bagshot and Lightwater Country Park due to the risk of tall vehicles hitting it.
Cabinet minister and Surrey Heath MP Michael Gove called the delay in replacing the bridge "unacceptable".
National Highways said it aimed to minimise disruption and "complete the work as quickly as possible".
The demolition is set to take place on Friday, 8 December and will require the M3 to close in both directions from 21:00 GMT that day to 06:00 on Monday 11 December.
National Highways said a structural review in September highlighted issues with the bridge's capacity to "withstand collision loading from over height vehicles".
The new bridge may not open until autumn 2025.
Mr Gove said: "It's unacceptable to have two years being mooted as the length of time for this vital link to be replaced."
Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Wilson said: "Dozens of residents have got in contact with me to express their devastation about the closure of the M3 footbridge."
A petition has called for alternative options, such as phased construction, temporary walkways or potentially closing inner lanes on the motorway.
A National Highways spokesperson said: "While we understand the importance of the footbridge to the local community, a recent structural assessment highlighted the bridge posed a significant safety risk to pedestrians as it at increased risk of a strike from high-sided vehicles.
"Whilst all measures were considered, the demolishment and replacement of the bridge is the most cost effective solution."