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A further apology has been made to residents over a bungled bridge repair which was scheduled to last six weeks but will now take 16 months.

Temporary traffic lights have been in place while Roding Bridge, which links Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill, is reduced to a single lane following the start of work on the busy route in December 12.

Motorists and households have endured regular congestion, prompting Essex County Council to apologise once again for the delay.

There have been a variety of problems with the project, including a dispute with utility providers, vandalism and the recent discovery that the bridge was crumbling.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Essex County Council would like to apologise for the disruption and inconvenience residents have experienced with regard to the vital repair works being carried out on Roding Bridge.

“We are sorry it has taken so much longer than first anticipated and we would like to thank our residents for their cooperation and patience whilst these works are being undertaken.”

Despite saying the work will be completed by 2014, the authority has warned this deadline may change.

The spokesman added: “Currently we cannot predict the weather in the next few months, and with this type of work we are dependent on good weather.

“Any prolonged period of cold or wet conditions may affect this.”