A DIVERSION route being used by drivers coming into Colchester town centre will be partly blocked for 18 weeks.

Works have started in Northern Approach Road, near the Mill Road junction.

A new path and wider road will be created and works are expected to last for four months.

There will be a lane closure while the works take place.

An Essex Highways spokesman said: “The proposed works are to widen the southbound carriageway of Northern Approach Road between the exit point of the bus lane and the junction with Mill Road, to incorporate a dedicated left-turn lane into Mill Road.

“It is also proposed to widen the northbound carriageway of Northern Approach Road between its junction with Mill Road and Boxted Road link, to incorporate a dedicated left-hand lane into Boxted Road and allow the left turn lane to be converted to a bus lane.

“The street light columns will be relocated to the rear of the redesigned three metre wide combined footway and cycleway.

“Work will only be carried out with lane closures between 9.30am and 3.30pm so we hope to avoid significant traffic delays.”

There will also be a lane closure in Northern Approach Road from the Mill Road junction between July 19 and 23, for traffic light replacement works.

It may cause problems for drivers as this route is a main diversion to avoid on-going Ipswich Road works.

The Ipswich and Harwich roads improvement scheme has been underway for ten months but delays mean it will not finish until next summer.

Highways bosses announced a planned five-month closure of the south part of Ipswich Road will no longer take place.

A major piling and wall-building operation was due to be carried out from next week but this is now been delayed until January.

County Hall says the road will need to be shut for six to eight weeks instead of the three to four months originally planned.

The road improvements involve carriageway widening and making single instead of double roundabouts.