The reopening of the M4 in West London has been delayed because work to repair a damaged flyover is more complex than originally thought, it has emerged.
Officials have admitted the motorway, which is the main route from London to Heathrow Airport and the west of England, could now remain closed for the rest of the working week.
Repairs to the Boston Manor Viaduct, just west of M4 junction two, were due to be completed on Thursday morning.
However, the Highways Agency said final repairs had got to a “critical stage” and “due to the complexity of the operation more time than originally envisaged is required to complete the work safely”.
The motorway is now expected to reopen “within the next few days”.
The M4 was shut on Friday between junctions one and three when a crack was discovered in a highly stressed zone over bridge supports. It is now just closed between junctions two and three.
Motorists looking to travel into West London on the M4 have been told to use alternative routes, such as the M40 or the M3.
Mike Penning, the roads minister, said: “I share the frustration of motorists at the continued delay to the opening of the M4.
“However, let’s be absolutely clear, safety must be paramount and I will not allow the road to be reopened until this repair work has been completed successfully. This is a very complex operation and it is not possible to predict precisely how long it will take.
“I want to thank motorists for their patience and assure them that we are doing everything we possibly can to fix this problem and get the road safely reopened as soon as possible.”
The M4 is set to be one of the busiest routes throughout the Olympic Games because it is the connection between Heathrow, London and the Olympic Park in Stratford.
It will become part of the Olympic Route Network (ORN) from Monday and one lane on each carriageway will be set aside for officials, sponsors and competitors.
The ORN will include temporary changes such as traffic signal timing alterations, suspended turns and stopping and loading restrictions, drivers have been told.
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