AN historic aqueduct which carries water, gas and electrical supplies across the River Tees and doubles up as a popular footbridge will have to close for restoration work.

The Grade II-listed Deepdale Aqueduct between Barnard Castle and Startforth, in County Durham, needs to undergo maintenance work to tackle wood rot on the decking.

The existing timber deck on the bridge is deteriorating so one pathway has already been closed and temporary decking installed on the other.

Northumbrian Water has applied to Durham County Council for listed building consent so it can carry out more extensive repairs to ensure it can continue to be safely used by walkers.

The cast iron bridge, known locally as The Silver Bridge, was built in 1893 by Head Wrighton & Co of Thornaby for the Stockton And Middlesbrough Water Board.

It is a popular route with residents and tourists and forms part of the Teesdale Way.

If the work is approved, the rotten decking on the closed footway, a rotten timber pipe surround and the temporary deck will be replaced with steelwork clamped to the existing structure and anti-slip grey plastic decking.

The council hopes to make a decision by late June and the work will take several months to complete.