MOTORISTS are being warned to expect delays when work starts on a £700,000 project to improve an historical East Lancashire railway bridge.

The Highways Agency has announced plans to close part of the A56 when improvement works begin on the Ewood Railway Bridge, at Helmshore, early next month.

Sections of the bridge, which spans the East Lancashire Light Railway Line, are due to be demolished as part of a £753,000 modernisation scheme and the existing concrete bridge deck and parapets are also to be upgraded.

Drivers are warned that lane restrictions will be in force through the Bent Gate junction, as well as off peak lane closures on the A56 trunk road.

Nick Moreton, project manager at the Highways Agency, said: "The work to replace the parapets of the Ewood Railway Bridge is part of the agency's continuing commitment to keeping all motorway and trunk road bridges maintained and in good condition for the safety of motorists.

"The main lane closures of the A56 will be phased to minimise disruption by avoiding times of peak traffic flow in the area.

"The restrictions at the Bent Gate junction may cause some delays and I would advise motorists to allow extra time for their journeys."

Work is due to begin on Monday February 5 and expected to last until July.