WORK to replace a road bridge which has been closed for more than a year is due to take place later this year.

The Deerness Bridge, which links Ushaw Moor and New Brancepeth over the River Deerness, west of Durham City, was closed in April 2016 after an inspection found “structural integrity” issues.

Durham County Council says it is planning to start work on a replacement, estimated to cost around £1.5m, in the autumn.

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A temporary bridge has been in place over the original since last June, allowing traffic to make the river crossing.

The council, which allocated £1.5m for the structure in its annual budget, has applied for planning permission to build another temporary bridge and road, to be used to maintain access while the work is ongoing.

John Reed, Durham County Council’s head of technical services, said: “After a temporary closure in May 2016, Deerness Bridge was re-opened with an interim bridge installed over the surface of the existing structure.

“It is proposed that in the autumn, work will begin to remove the existing bridge deck, which is no longer fit for purpose, and a replacement will be constructed. Other works will include the diversion of utilities and improvements to surfacing, drainage and street lighting.

“While this is completed a temporary road and bridge will be put in place upstream of the existing structure so that traffic access can continue and to avoid disruption to local villages.

“The temporary road and bridge will be required for up to nine months and will be removed once the Deerness Bridge deck has been replaced.”