HIGHWAYS bosses are set to press ahead with re-surfacing work and temporary closures on the A64 near Tadcaster in January - despite the partial collapse of the town's bridge.

The dual carriageway has become the only link for motorists between the two sides of Tadcaster since the River Wharfe flooded just after Christmas, and the bridge's demise on Tuesday evening means that looks likely to continue for months.

But Highways England said yesterday that resurfacing work was due to continue on the A64 around Tadcaster from Monday January 11, starting with resurfacing of the eastbound exit slip road at Headley Bar.

"The eastbound A64 will be closed overnight for two nights from Bramham to Tadcaster Ings," said a spokeswoman.

"Once this has been completed, work is planned to start on the westbound carriageway. To carry out this work the westbound carriageway will be closed between Tadcaster Bar and Headley Bar until the project is completed at the end of the month."

However, Highways England service delivery team leader Roger Wantling said that work here - and also proposed maintenance work on the A64 bridge over the River Ouse near York - was obviously dependant on the weather, and the situation was being monitored.

"Over the last few days, York and the surrounding area has been hit by severe rainfall which has caused flooding locally and has affected a bridge at Tadcaster," he said.

"We are monitoring this ongoing situation and will only commence with our work if we are assured that the impact on the local community is manageable with what is happening on the local authority roads. We will let people know if this does change our programme of work."

Tadcaster town councillor and Selby District Council chairman Richard Sweeting said that while he would love Tadcaster bridge to be re-opened by January 11, he did not think this was realistic, and said the only detour without the A64 would be a very long route via Thorp Arch and Boston Spa. "Common sense should prevail - we have enough problems without Highways England adding to them," he added.

The York work is due to start next Monday with replacement of the safety barriers on the bridge, when the dual carriageway will be closed in both directions for five nights, with diversions via the A19 at Fulford and Fishergate, that were badly flooded earlier this week.

The A64 will then be closed again towards the end of February for three nights to remove the protective barriers and from the end of March, work will start on replacing a main expansion joint on the eastbound carriageway, requiring full overnight closures of thec arriageway between 8pm and 6am Monday to Friday, with the project due to be completed in May.