MOTORISTS on the eastbound A64 will be diverted through York every night for 19 weeks in the New Year to allow for maintenance work on a bridge.

Drivers will also face a 30 mph speed limit during the day on the eastbound carriageway towards Malton and Scarborough, leading to probable delays during rush hour and the February and Easter school holidays.

Highways England says it needs to carry out the work on the A64's bridge over the River Ouse near Bishopthorpe, which was built in 1976 as part of a bypass around York.

York Press:

FLASHBACK: Underneath the bridge following its construction in 1976

"The work is to carry out some maintenance work on the bridge joints but will include some resurfacing around those joints and also replacing the pedestrian barrier," said a spokeswoman.

She said the project was due to start on January 4 and last for 19 weeks, and it would lead to narrower lanes on both carriageways and a 50mph limit on a longer stretch of the route.

York Press:

An aerial view of the route during the road's construction in the 1970s

A spokeswoman said the work would take place day and night. and the eastbound carriageway would close every night from 8pm until 6am.

She said traffic would be diverted along the A1036 Tadcaster Road and Blossom Street, Nunnery Lane and then the A19 Fishergate and Fulford Road and then back on to the A64.

The planned diversion route

Motorists faced a traffic jam nightmare in 2007 when an underpass was built on the A64 at Copmanthorpe to allow villagers to get safely across the dual carriageway.

The problems were caused by traffic funnelling down into a contraflow involving just one lane in each direction, and this time Highways England is confident there will not be major problems for drivers.

"We did carry out some work similar to this around the same time a few years ago and the traffic managed well but we will monitor it," said the spokeswoman.

"At the moment, the forward programme is still being firmed up so I can’t say if any other work at the moment is planned but if it is we will identify any conflict and manage it."