A plan is underway to keep the Disraeli Bridge open to traffic during construction, said Mayor Sam Katz today. An estimated 42,000 people cross over the bridge each day.

The mayor said the aim is to see no traffic disruptions during bridge work, which is expected to start next year and last for about 16 months. Katz said a memorandum of understanding is being sent to the provincial government which contains a provision about keeping the bridge open.

The aging bridge requires a major overhaul.

Residents and businesses near the bridge had expressed previous concerns about long detour times and a drop in customer traffic if the bridge were to close for construction.

Jim Maloway, the MP for the area, has been pushing for the bridge to remain open and says he's happy to hear it might go ahead.

The mayor wouldn't say whether the plan is to fix the old bridge or build an entirely new one, although he said he prefers a long-term solution. An official announcement could be made by the end of the week.

- with a report from CTV's Joe Olafson