MOTORISTS are being warned to avoid an £8.5m roadworks project because of road closures while the final stage of work is carried out.

Workmen are to close a stretch of the A167, near to Spennymoor, County Durham, as part of the DurhamGate scheme.

The road will be closed between the Thinford and Croxdale roundabout as part of road improvements to cater for the scheme at the former Black and Decker site.

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The closure will be in place from 8pm on Friday, 18, until 8pm Sunday, May 20.

It will allow road markings to be fitted and for the completion of the surfacing works at the Coach and Horses roundabout.

Hett Lane and York Hill Road will also be closed during this time as Durham County Council workers complete the scheme.

A diversion will be in place to the A688 Merrington Lane roundabout at Low Spennymoor then northerly along the B6288 North Road through Tudhoe Colliery to the A167 at Croxdale.

Access from York Hill Road to A167 is either north along B6288 or south via B6288 and east along A688.

Motorists heading from Hett to the A167 should go to the A688 via Leemans Lane or Sunderland Bridge.

The DurhamGate plan will see a 55-acre former site on the outskirts of Spennymoor be redeveloped for housing, retail, leisure and business use.

It is estimated that the work at the old Black and Decker site will create 3,000 jobs.