A bridge that connected a tiny village to a a major commuter route has finally reopened eight months after a landslide made the road impassable.
The collapse of the bridge in Ovington, Teesdale, County Durham, split the village in two, meaning those living on the stranded side could not access the main road out easily and had to take a 10-mile detour.
Residents faced an extra half an hour’s driving time on each round-trip, making it more difficult for them to reach nearby Darlington.
The bridge’s closure restricts access to the A67 which links County Durham to North Yorkshire.
Heavy rain towards the end of December last year caused the bridge to sink down an embankment.
The bridge has now reopned, ahead of schedule, but with temporary traffic lights in place.
The project, by Durham County Council, has cost around £103,000 and included back-filling a huge hole, stabilising the bank beneath and carriageway resurfacing.
Some repairs to pothole and walls completion will now be finished off.
Brian Buckley, strategic highways manager at Durham County Council, said: “This has been a complex project but the completion tasks are on schedule and we are pleased with the progress which has been made.
“We are doing all we can to minimise disruption to the local community and we are grateful for people’s patience while we carry out work to complete the final stages of this project.”
After the collapse local businesses told how the closure was having an impact on their business.
Residents said the bridge, which has a weight limit and is listed, has been put under considerable strain as a result of heavy farm traffic driving over it.
Dave Nixon, 53, has lived in Ovington for 13 years and runs a haulage firm in the village, transporting sand and gravel.
He said: “The bridge collapse is costing me in fuel and time and it is very inconvenient.
“We have to go the long way round every time we need to cross the village.
“To a certain extent, we are not happy with the council.
“They were doing repairs on the bridge earlier in the year – they must have spent a lot of money on it – but for it to collapse means it was wasted.
“However, I know that we have also had a lot of bad weather and the bridge is on a bank. Landslides can happen at any time.”
Hazel Watt, a chartered accountant who has lived in the village for 32 years, said: “I have been affected most drastically ... I cannot get to the pub!
“I am the wrong side of the bridge. I refuse to drive an extra five miles to get to the pub, why should I have to do that?
“The bridge closure is affecting all the businesses in the village. I think the collapse may be a result of heavy farm traffic driving over the bridge.”