REPAIRS are being carried out to a five metre sinkhole that appeared in County Durham.

Durham County Council has said it hopes the A689 at Wearhead will be reopened next Sunday.

The hole developed last Tuesday and the road was closed with diversions put in place for safety reasons.

A spokesman for Durham County Council said: “Our engineers have carried out detailed investigations of the "sinkhole" in Wearhead.

The Northern Echo:

“The hole is five metres deep and four metres wide, but we can now begin repairs.

“The aim is to reopen the road by Sunday 26 May. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Signs have been put up in Stanhope and Alston advising people of the closure and directing them to an alternative route.

Those travelling west can take the B6278 from Stanhope to Middleton-in-Teesdale and then on the B62777 to Alston.

Heading east, the diversion will follow the opposite route.

The diversion will add 16 miles to the journey, so the public should allow extra time when travelling.

A shorter local diversion will also be in place within Wearhead for residents and the emergency services. This is less than two miles but is not suitable for heavy goods vehicles and coaches.

The footpath remains open for pedestrians, while cyclists can pass through by dismounting and proceeding on foot.

The sinkhole is located on the eastbound carriageway and appears to have been caused by a collapsed culvert, originally constructed to remove water from mine workings.

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