Thaw prompts flood warnings

Melting snow has brought fresh warnings of localised flooding and the closure of an England to Scotland road link.

Northumberland County Council has closed the A697 at Hedgeley Bridge, just north of Powburn, because rising river levels are making the structure "vulnerable".



A spokesman said the bridge is suffering from the effects of erosion which have weakened its concrete apron and the weir which protects its foundations.



He said: "The river level is presently rising due to snow melt and the county council has therefore made the decision to close the bridge to traffic.



"Local diversions are in place and motorists on the A1 are being advised that they cannot use the A697 as a through road to Scotland.



"It is likely that the bridge will not re-open until at least Sunday afternoon."



Council engineers are planning to carry out repairs.



The closure of the road came as Northumbria Police said there were reports of localised flooding on a number of routes in the force area due to melting snow.



Problems were reported from yesterday evening in a range of locations from Berwick down to Newcastle, a spokeswoman said.



She said: "Drivers are advised to reduce their speed and exercise caution on the routes that are affected."

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