THOUSANDS of bricks forming the surface of Blyth’s Waterloo Road were lifted up over the weekend as part of road improvements being carried out in the town.
The road closure caused havoc for drivers, however, as the work overran their scheduled finishing time of 5am on Monday morning, leading to the reopening of the road being put back until yesterday.
Bricks were used on the road as part of the £3m renovation of Blyth’s market five years ago, but as the road was part of a major route for buses and lorries, the surface had begun to sink in places since then.
Northumberland County Council leader Jeff Reid, of Blyth’s Plessey ward, said: “I have been informed that the team hit a snag in the base preparation work which meant it could not be completed in time for the anticipated reopening. We are sorry for the trouble the closure is causing, and I can only apologise for the inconvenience to visitors and townspeople.
“The Blyth scheme, which is long overdue, is part of our £16m investment in county roads and transport.”
Work started on the site on Saturday at 5pm.
The bricks now replaced by Tarmac are to be re-used in the future development of the town’s bus station.
Andy Rutherford, head of highways and neighbourhood services at Northumberland Council, said: “Waterloo Road in Blyth was scheduled to reopen on Monday, but after removing the surface paving stones, the concrete sub-structure was found to be less solid than expected and more work needed to be done to prepare the base for the new surface.
“The road was to reopen on Wednesday morning with a temporary surface, and on Sunday work to finish the road will be carried out as originally planned.
“The original paving was installed as part of the £3m scheme carried out by Blyth Valley Borough Council to renovate the market square.
“Traffic use, combined with two severe winters, has revealed that a more robust surface covering is needed in this area of Blyth, and we are working to complete this ahead of winter this year.”