Motorists are being urged to avoid two north Oxfordshire villages due to a road closure after faults were found on a bridge.

Drivers should not travel to Barford St Michael and Barford St John because Oxfordshire County Council has closed Bloxham Road after recently discovering deterioration of Barford Bridge.

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The council says action was needed due to the large number of HGVs using the route and the risk of significant further damage before suitable measures could be put in place to stop heavy vehicles from using the bridge, such as a physical width restriction with appropriate advance signage.

Given the severity of the deterioration, weight restriction signage alone – which the council says is often ignored – was not considered appropriate.

The bridge will instead need to be partially reconstructed to bring it up to full load carrying capacity which is likely to take more than a year to arrange.

The council is now planning to install a physical width restriction of two metres (6ft 6in) to prevent vehicles of over three tonnes using the bridge but enabling the road to be reopened to the majority of cars. This may take a few months to arrange.

The bridge will remain open to pedestrians, equestrians and cyclists.

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