A road is to be closed temporarily in response to safety concerns over an increase in traffic passing through two County Durham communities.

Durham County Council is to close the A688 junction with Leeman’s Lane, to the East of Thinford roundabout, for the remainder of road widening works on the A688 Thinford Lane, east of the roundabout.

The decision has been taken by the council after it consulted with local residents, businesses and councillors at Hett and Sunderland Bridge.

Safety concerns had been expressed at an increase in traffic passing through those communities, due to the closure of a stretch of the A688 East of the roundabout during the road widening works.

Leeman’s Lane is very narrow with limited passing places and is not suitable for large volumes of traffic.

A vast majority of those responding to the consultation were in favour of closing the A688 junction with Leeman’s Lane for the remainder of the road widening works.

An impassable barrier will be in place from Monday 30 January until the works are complete, with them expected to take a further ten weeks.

A diversion route will be in place and signs put up to advise motorists of the closure.

The widening work is designed to reduce waiting times at the roundabout.

Adrian White, the council’s head of transport and contract services, said: “We are bringing in this closure in response to local residents telling us of their safety concerns over the numbers of motorists using the roads through their communities as short cuts.

“We appreciate residents and businesses in the area will face inconvenience with some longer journeys but would ask that they be patient and bear with us during the work which should result in shorter waiting times at Thinford roundabout.

“We will complete this work as quickly as we can.”

Diversion maps and further details of the works can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/thinford