AN EXHIBITION will be held on plans to build a new bridge at Stroud’s busiest junction as part of the canal project.

Gloucestershire County Council will display the final bridge design and timetable for the proposed works on the intersection of the A419 and A46 at Merrywalks.

Stan Waddington, cabinet member for environment, said: "There will be some disruption while this work is being carried out but I would ask people to be patient as this is an extremely important project for Stroud and indeed the whole canal project."

BT must carry out preliminary roadworks to divert cables on the junction for about three weeks from mid November.

Traffic signals or a lane cordon will be in place for one Sunday.

The main work is planned to start in February with the construction of an extension to the road past the Bell Hotel to link to the Wallbridge roundabout.

Traffic will be diverted along the new bypass and the bridge area will be closed in early May.

The road will reopen in early November to avoid delays over Christmas.

Work will continue off-road until the project is complete in March 2011.

Lawrence Elcocks, network and traffic manager at GCC, said delays on the junction during the work would be no worse than now if traffic could be reduced by 30 per cent.

He said signs would be placed on main roads into Stroud to dissuade heavy through traffic. Carole Garfield, chairman of Stroud Chamber of Commerce, said the roadworks would cause 'severe disruption' and urged businesses to start planning ahead.

GCC will not tender the work until late November but Stroud District Council has committed a further £800,000 from canal funds to meet a possible shortfall. *The exhibition will be held in the Sub Rooms on Thursday, November 19 from 12.30pm to 7.30pm.

*Stroud Chamber of Commerce will also hold a public meeting to help traders plan ahead in The Shambles on Tuesday, November 3 at 5.30pm.