RESIDENTS have urged motorists to abide by an official road diversion after a huge lorry almost demolished an ancient archway.

Cumbria County Council has closed part of Manor Road because of an unsafe bridge.

It was first believed the railway bridge was damaged but now it has been confirmed it is the bridge over Mill Beck which requires repairs.

The official diversion uses Long Lane, Newton Road and Parkhouse Road, or the start of Manor Road, but some motorists have been using Abbey Approach.

One resident said: "I had to help the driver of a huge lorry reverse from under the sandstone arch by the old Abbey Tavern who was trying to avoid the road closure.

"If I hadn't intervened the arch would have been demolished. Last time this happened it took months to repair the arch."

The bridge is not owned by the council, or Network Rail, so highways bosses have been speaking to the owner to expedite the repairs.

A spokesman said: "Diversions are put in place to give all road users a clear alternative to use when a section of public highway is closed.

"The diversion route needs to be of an equivalent or higher standard (wherever possible) than the closed route to allow the additional traffic to cope.

"Signed diversions are not always the shortest route around a road closure but take into account restrictions that may be in place on the network restricting certain types of vehicle. We would ask that all road users and especially those unfamiliar with the local road network to follow the signed diversion."