ONE of the main roads out of Clitheroe has been closed after a water tanker struck a grade II listed stone bridge this morning.

Highways bosses have put a major diversion in place after a vehicle demolished a 20-metre section of Edisford Bridge, which takes the B6243 over the River Ribble.

An inquiry will now take place to determine how the historic bridge came to be damaged.

Repairs are due to begin on Monday - with the operation set to take between two and three weeks. Several smaller diversions will be put in place for the duration of the works for cars and vans.

But the alternative route for all vehicles could see some truck and lorry drivers having to travel via Clitheroe, Chatburn, Sawley, Waddington and Bashall Town to reach those locations and the likes of Whitewell and Dunsop Bridge.

Harvey Danson, area highways manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “We know the closure of this bridge will cause some inconvenience, and we’re sorry for the disruption.

“However we can’t allow it to continue being used while the parapet wall is unsafe.

“We’ll be working to repair and reopen the bridge as soon as we can over the coming weeks and are grateful for people’s patience.”

A United Utilities spokesman said: “One of our water-onwheels tankers was in the area keeping around 100 properties on their tap supply following a burst on a 16-inch water main.

“The exact circumstances of how the tanker collided with the parapet of the bridge are still under investigation. We are working closely with highway engineers from Lancashire Country Council to ensure the bridge is made safe and repairs start as soon as possible.”