The start date of a 25-week closure of a Darlington road has been pushed back until 2024 after Network Rail confirmed the change on Monday (December 4). 

Smithfield Road in the town, which runs underneath railway tracks, has an underpass to allow cars and pedestrians through. 

It was previously confirmed that the road will be closed from December 6 for 25 weeks to allow the bridge to be demolished and a rebuild job to start. 

Signs confirming the work, which was expected to last until May 31, 2024, were spotted on Smithfield Road and nearby roads, with drivers and pedestrians who use that route having to find an alternative way into Darlington. 

However, it was confirmed on Monday (December 4) that the closure period will now start in 2024 after an update from Network Rail and Darlington Borough Council - but the reopening date will stay the same as previously highlighted.

The Northern Echo: Smithfield Road in DarlingtonSmithfield Road in Darlington (Image: CRAIG STODDART)

A spokesperson for Darlington Borough Council said: "We have just been informed by Network Rail that the planned closure of the Smithfield Road rail overbridge will not begin until Monday, January 8.

"Once closed, the bridge will not reopen until May, to allow Network Rail to carry out essential maintenance and improvement works to the railway bridge.

"A signed diversion will be in place and signs at the site will be changed. Some work will happen in the area before the closure."

The Northern Echo: The sign confirming the 25-week projectThe sign confirming the 25-week project (Image: CRAIG STODDART)

It's believed that this project from Network Rail is part of the extensive Darlington Train Station scheme, which will be running until Spring 2025. 

Darlington Station’s £150million overhaul will include two new platforms on the Eastern side of the station, and a new car park, when complete in 2025.

The Northern Echo: How the inside of Darlington Train Station will lookHow the inside of Darlington Train Station will look (Image: DARLINGTON BOROUGH COUNCIL)

Images of how the station will look have been revealed already, with the station redevelopment including a multi-storey car park, transport interchange and gateway entrance connected to Central Park.

Once finished, there will be secure parking for more than 600 cars with disabled bays and electric car charging points available.

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The project is still on track to be complete in time for the 2025 Stockton and Darlington Railway bicentennial celebrations.

This is what is expected on the East gateway (Neasham Road) proposals:

  • A new station building with platforms serving local and national lines
  • A multi-storey car park
  • Transport interchange and cycle facilities
  • Landscaped pedestrianised areas
  • New footbridge into the existing station building
  • Improvements to Neasham Road

This is the plan for the West side (Bank Top):

  • New road layout to improve pedestrian safety
  • A pedestrianised concourse in front of the building entrance
  • Redesign of the entrance to make a safer car-free entrance to the historic station