WORK on the Abbey Bridge in Evesham has stopped and is unlikely to resume before the new year.

Concerned residents contacted the Journal after noticing the workers from contractors Hochtief, who are replacing the 85-year-old bridge on behalf of Worcestershire County Council, were not at the site.

A spokesman for the company said the industry shut down over the Christmas and new year period and it was unlikely any work would take place on the bridge before 2014.

Councillor John Smith, county cabinet member for transport said they had met with senior staff from Hochtief on Friday to discuss the bridge. He said: “The building trade shuts down for Christmas and New Year.

“We have had a very constructive meeting with Hochtief and will be releasing information in the New Year.”

Rumours had been rife in the town that the company was having problems but this has been strongly refuted by Hochtief.

The bridge was due to reopen in November after a 10-week closure but after several delays a date for the main route into Evesham town centre to reopen to traffic has not yet been announced.

Coun Smith said he hoped a date would be provided in the new year.