Restoration work to a 200-year-old canal bridge has started - a year after a weight restriction closed it to vehicles weighing more than ten tonnes.

Extensive repointing to the arch of Changeline Bridge at Bank Newton should strengthen the structure and prevent any further movement.

Work, which started last week, should take around two weeks and is being carried out from a barge in the canal.

Tim Brownrigg, senior project manager for the Canal and River Trust said: “We’re pleased to be able to announce that we’re carrying out a two-week restoration project to fix the bridge which will remove the current temporary weight restriction. We hope this is welcome news to local people and businesses that regularly use this 200-year-old bridge.

“Over the years, a combination of water washing away some of the mortar from between the arches and heavy traffic loads has meant that some of the masonry has been damaged. Our contractor will be carrying out extensive repointing of the bridge arch from a floating pontoon or barge which should stop any further movement and strengthen the bridge.”

He added: “During our bridge inspections, we also discovered some nesting bats so we’ve carried out some extensive surveys to make sure our work minimises any impact on them as they are a protected species.”

Work will take place from Monday to Friday between 6am and midday in an attempt to reduce disruption to boaters.

“We are also working outside our usual winter months because bats are known to roost in crevices in the structure. A few of the non-structural crevices will be left untouched to allow any bats to return in the colder months at the end of the year,” added Mr Brownrigg.