AN HISTORIC North Yorkshire bridge is to stay closed for three weeks longer than planned during a £78,000 repair project.

The crossing over the River Nidd at Cattal, between York and Harrogate, was shut to traffic on February 7 for a maintenance programme which was originally expected to take eight weeks to complete.

But North Yorkshire County Council now says the original construction techniques used when the bridge was built more than 200 years ago have left the authority’s contractors with “significant problems to overcome”, which are worse than initially anticipated.

The bridge is now expected to reopen on April 21.

A council spokesman said: “It is a listed building and we are working closely with English Heritage to ensure this vital repair work does not in any way alter the character of the structure.

“This has meant many of the individual stones with which the bridge is being repaired have had to be dressed in a unique way. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this slightly longer closure, but unfortunately it is inevitable.”

Cattal bridge was built around 1800 on the site of a Roman river crossing.