OVERFLOWING water from an old mine working has been blamed for the repeated flooding of a town’s bypass next to the site of a proposed cinema complex.

Motorists in Bishop Auckland were left frustrated for at least the third time this year after the A688 next to Heritage park football stadium was closed today (Thursday, December 20).

The road, which has only been open for a few years, persistently floods in heavy rain and today’s closure saw traffic queued for a mile between Tindale Crescent and West Auckland.

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Durham County Council has been investigating why the road, which runs alongside wasteland where it is proposed to build a multi-screen cinema, shops and restaurants, keeps flooding.

Brian Buckley, strategic highways manager for the council, said: “Our findings are that the flooding is highly likely to be as a consequence of an overflow from old mine workings.

"This has caused the drainage system to overload and flood the road.

“We have been working to relieve the flooding and re-open the road and are continuing our investigations with the relevant agents for the old coal board to resolve the issues as soon as possible.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to motorists.”

Other main roads in the region were also affected by the heavy downpours.

The A19 northbound, between Testos roundabout in South Tyneside and the Boldon turn-off was closed, with HGVs advised to use an alternative route along the A194 to get to the Tyne Tunnel other traffic told to go via Abingdon Way.

The A19 northbound, the off-slip to the A184 was closed in South Tyneside while traffic was being diverted off in both directions at Seaham.

As a precaution, Walbottle Road in Newburn, Newcastle, was closed.

Many other roads across the region were affected by standing water, but were passable with care.