DIGGERS have moved in to tear down houses in the path of a long-awaited bypass.

The empty houses in West Chilton Terrace, Chilton, County Durham, were demolished at the weekend in the £9.1m project.

Villagers have had to wait 65-years for the bypass, which was proposed in 1939 by the Department of Transport.

The road will ease the traffic burden on the A167 through Chilton, which carries about 18,000 vehicles a day.

The 2.3km stretch of single carriageway, which is expected to take a year to complete, will leave the roundabout junction of the A167 and A689 at Rushyford, returning to the existing road south of Ferryhill.

Once the bypass is opened next year, work will begin on a £750,000 improvement scheme for the A167 in the village to make it more attractive to residents.