DRIVERS are being urged to plan their journeys in advance of critical works starting on one of Durham city centre’s main bridges next month.

The significant, essential work needed to make New Elvet Bridge structurally sound will see it fully closed to traffic and pedestrians for up to 14 months from July 20.  

Essential work was needed to make New Elvet Bridge structurally sound and it was fully closed the weekend to traffic and pedestrians and will remain closed for up to 14 months.

Businesses in the vicinity of the works will remain open throughout, in line with the latest government guidance, and access to the city’s main car parks will be maintained.

However, Durham County Council is urging drivers to try to avoid peak travel times and plan for additional travel time for their journeys.

Where possible, drivers are asked to consider alternative routes or speak to their employers about different working hours.

The City of Durham Parish Council has written to the county council chief executive expressing its grave concerns over the closure of New Elvet Bridge from July 20 and “inexcusable lack of consultation”. The parish council hopes to meet with officials to discuss the matter.

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “We do understand that the closure of New Elvet Bridge is going to cause disruption.

However, these works have been planned for some time now and whilst I recognise that businesses are concerned that they’re taking place now, it is important that we continue to plan for such repairs, rather than more extensive work being needed in the future which could cause even more disruption.

“Wherever possible, I would strongly recommend that people use public transport or the park and ride, to cut the number of vehicles travelling through the city while work is ongoing. If that isn’t possible then I would ask drivers to please use our website to look at what diversions are recommended, or see how busy their expected route is through the cameras. Being well planned and prepared will help reduce waiting times as well as congestion and help keep the city moving.”

Suggested diversions from a number of directions can be viewed on the council’s website It’s hoped these diversions will help spread the traffic coming into and out of the city centre. There are also diversions included for local traffic.

Current traffic conditions from across Durham City can also be seen online from the council’s traffic cameras.

The council is increasing the number of cameras online and drivers are being urged to use those to help plan their journeys, with information being updated every minute. A list of traffic cameras and a link to those is also available on the council’s website:

In addition, residents and anyone needing to use the city centre are being encouraged to use public transport or the park and ride services in line with the latest government guidance where possible, to further reduce congestion.

Letters have been sent to all businesses and residents who will be affected by the works.

While those nearby businesses are asked to plan deliveries which will avoid peak travel times where possible, the council is continuing to consult with those in and around the city to resolve any outstanding traffic management issues.

The council is also consulting with Durham University and Park Run organisers in regard to access for the rowing club and other events.