VILLAGE residents are set for up to four months of diversions as authorities prepare to rebuild a bridge.

Cust Hall Bridge, on Gainsford End Road outside Toppesfield, is set for a complete overhaul after officials found it to be unsafe.

The crossing is next to Cust Hall and spans a steep drop down to a flowing stream.

The road is the main route connecting Toppesfield with Gainsford End and is also a way for villagers to reach Sible Hedingham.

Essex County Council assessed the bridge and found it is in a “weak condition” and needs replacing

A three-tonne weight restriction has also been in place since July 2018.

Work on the bridge is expected to start on Wednesday, September 16.

Essex County Council has a permit for the works with construction of the new bridge expected to be competed by mid January next year.

In the meantime, residents are facing a diversion route with the bridge’s closure presenting problems for some road users.

The diversion redirects drivers to Toppesfield Road and Yeldham Road.

The alternative route will be in place throughout the bridge rebuild.

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “Cust Hall Bridge is located on Gainsford End Road, Toppesfield, Braintree and carries a two way, single road over a tributary of the River Colne.

“An assessment of the structure has found the bridge to be in a weak condition and needs to be replaced.

“Arrangements have been made to begin these works in autumn 2020.

“This will involve removing the existing bridge and replacing with a wider structure made of precast concrete box sections, which reduces the overall construction period.”