Essential work to overhaul Marlow Bridge has been brought forward so it can take place when the roads are much quieter because of lockdown - but it means the bridge will have to shut completely.

The town's iconic suspension bridge needs work, and while the original plans were for it to be carried out in September, it has been brought forward - with the first phase starting on Monday, May 18.

The project will now be split into two phases, with the first done in May and the second in September.

Phase one includes cleaning the bridge towers and repainting its chains and hangers.

The bridge will be shut completely from 9.30am on May 18 to May 26 to allow this work to be carried out.

Although it will be shut to traffic, pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to use it.

After this, there will be temporary two-way traffic lights in place to allow vehicles access again until Friday, June 19, when phase one will be completed and the bridge fully reopens again.

Phase two is due to start in September and will involve repainting bridge parapets and replacing bearings on the Bisham end of the bridge.

The work will be carried out by Transport for Bucks (TfB).

New transport chief at Buckinghamshire Council, Nick Naylor, said: “I am so pleased that we are still able to carry out this important and highly anticipated work on Marlow Bridge.

"Over the years, TfB has worked tirelessly to do all it can to protect and preserve this iconic structure.

"Now we can carry out the relevant work in a shorter time frame whilst minimising disruption to the public, which I know will be much appreciated by the residents of Marlow especially. I look forward to seeing the end result.”

TfB says it has a "long-term strategy" to preserving the listed bridge for future generations.