A KEY bridge in Kendal which caused traffic chaos when it was closed will not be fully repaired until next summer, a county council meeting has heard.

The 'environmental window' for contractors to access the River Kent and fix Victoria Bridge has been 'lost' because of the damage caused by heavy rain this summer, councillors were told at a meeting in Kendal.

Cllr James Airey, the Conservative opposition leader, tackled Cllr Keith Little, the Labour cabinet member for highways and transport, about the issue.

Cllr Airey, the Conservative member for Ulverston West, complained that the council was still fixing problems caused in December 2015 by Storm Desmond.

Cllr Airey said: "We are nearly at that four-year mark. Victoria Bridge in Kendal has again been closed in the summer causing absolute chaos.

"I understand it's not going to be properly fixed until next summer. If that's the case what the heck's going to happen when it pees it down in winter?”

"Can we have some reassurance that businesses and residents in Kendal, plus those needing to use the town if the M6 is closed, will have the access they need?"

Cllr Little said Victoria Bridge was fixed immediately after Storm Desmond and pointed out it had been successfully open since then.

He said: "In August we had two days where the water levels in the Kent rose considerably. Because we had part of the bridge closed off with a coffer dam, it channelled all the water down the good side that had never been damaged. It put twice the volume down there at twice the velocity. That again caused some under-scarring at the footings. Because we couldn't do a dive at that time, we closed the bridge on safety grounds."

He said the damage was worse than expected and was further undermined by heavy rain, causing the timetable to slip because of requirements by the Environment Agency about when work can take place in rivers.

"What we are doing at the moment is making the bridge winter safe and putting in the work we need to do which will hopefully keep the bridge open throughout the coming months. I can only apologise," said Cllr Little.