WORK to repair a medieval bridge has been suspended ahead of thousands of spectators for the four-day Lumiere light festival.

Major works are taking place to restore Old Elvet Bridge, in Durham, parts of which date back to the 12th Century, but have now been halted as the city prepares to welcome around 200,000 visitors for the popular festival.

Durham County Council engineers are carrying out a refurbishment of the landmark arched bridge, which is a Grade One Listed Scheduled Ancient Monument, as part of a £1.84m city centre improvement programme.

Work has now been halted for Lumiere and the run-up to Christmas, but the council says work is on schedule.

John Reed, the council’s head of technical services, said: “Work has gone really well so far and, as was always the plan, we are now pausing for Lumiere.

“We want everyone to really enjoy the festival and as Old Elvet Bridge is such a key route for it, we are making sure it is access all areas while the event take places.

“We also recognise that work on Old Elvet Bridge is not ideal in the run up to Christmas, when our city is really busy.”

Work includes the waterproofing of the bridge deck, realignment and replacement of the paving and the creation of loading bays on the approaches to the bridge.

It involves placing a layer of specialised concrete under the paving to provide a waterproof membrane, in order to protect the bridge for future generations.

Existing paving materials are being reused where possible.

The work to waterproof the bridge deck is now complete with stretches either side of the crossing still to do.

Temporary tarmac has been laid between new and existing paving for pedestrians until work resumes in the New Year.

When work restarts, the temporary tarmac will be replaced with traditional stone slabs.

During the final phase, pedestrian access will be maintained at all times, but vehicle access will occasionally be suspended.