£5m Grimsby bridge restoration delayed as severe deterioration found
A landmark bridge in Grimsby will no longer reopen in December after its condition was found to be worse than originally thought.
A £5m restoration of the Corporation Road Bridge began in February and was expected to be finished in December.
However, grit-blasting work on the grade II-listed structure has uncovered "significant areas of rusting and corrosion".
The council said further surveys would establish the severity of the decay.
The bridge, which opened in 1925, spans the River Freshney and is a main route into Grimsby town centre, connecting Corporation Road to Victoria Street South.
Its refurbishment is being undertaken by Spencer Group, which has worked on some of the UK's biggest bridge projects, including the Humber Bridge and £10m repair work to the Forth Road Bridge.
A spokesperson for North East Lincolnshire Council said: "As works have progressed, further damage and deterioration has been unveiled by the contractor, with the beams underneath found to be in a much worse corroded condition than initially projected.
"Only when full unrestricted access has been made available and the paintwork stripped and taken down to bare steel, has Spencer Group been able to fully understand the severity of the condition of span one.
"As a result, further surveys are required to establish the condition of the underside of the five other spans of the bridge."
The spokesperson said a date for the full reopening of the bridge would not be known until the results of detailed assessments were returned.
Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio for environment and transport, added: "We understand an extension of works will not be welcomed by residents and businesses and appreciate the impact the closure may have.
"If left to deteriorate further, the bridge may become a barrier to future economic growth in the town, particularly if it has to be closed or weight limits imposed, which we want to avoid at all costs."
Mr Swinburn said the work would eventually see the bridge continue to be used "for many years to come".