DRIVERS have voiced their concerns after several weeks of bridge repairs have meant driving through narrow, muddy roads just to commute.

The Wellinditch Bridge, in Stow Maries, has been undergoing repairs after it was deemed unsafe by Highways England.

Residents in the Dengie, who have been diverted from the route, have had to use Church Lane, putting a strain on school buses, lorries and cars which need to get through.

Cold Norton resident Karleen Oschman said: “This is causing major disruption to the area, including where I live.

“The school bus is arriving late and despite efforts to get the school bus to pick up early, this still has not happened.

“We have to use single-lane muddy lanes to get to work or even just out of the area.

“This is an accident just waiting to happen.

“I have almost been hit in my car by another vehicle speeding in the rain down these lanes.

“Once it starts snowing and the mornings are darker, I dread to think what could happen.”

Stow Maries Parish Council put out an update to reassure residents that, despite delays, work is still going ahead.

A spokesman said: “We have been working with Matt Irwin, the Highways England civil engineer overseeing the works, Essex County Council and their sub-contracted traffic management team to set up signage as per our discussions at the last council meeting.

“As you will have gathered, there have been a few hiccups resulting in delays and some of our requested signs being refused by the Essex County Council traffic management team.

“Most notably, they are unwilling to put up signs saying, ‘access only’ and to restrict HGVs from Church Lane and Honeypot Lane.

“We understand that the signs that were agreed to, which say ‘diversion’ and ‘business open as usual’, are all now in place.

The latest plans are to demolish the bridge and finish all the work before Christmas.

The spokesman added: “We share resident concerns on the increased use and state of Church Lane bridge.

“The bridge condition is being professionally monitored every two weeks with no changes in condition found as yet.”