Excited and expectant residents in Tadcaster have been warned that the winter weather could further delay the finishing date for the town's flood damaged bridge.
When the Grade II listed structure partially collapsed in December 2015, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) committed to completing its reconstruction within a year.
After various setbacks including high river levels in autumn last year, the completion date was postponed until January 27, but now NYCC have announced this week's weather forecast could delay work again.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said: “We are making every effort to meet our target date of the 27th. Our contractors are out on the site drilling and piling and progressing the work 24 hours a day.
"But the timescale is now very tight and because of the very cold weather forecast and should there be any other unforeseen issues, we would be very hard pressed to make that date.
"However, we are ploughing on, theoretically that date is still possible and we give an assurance that we will do everything we can to open to traffic as near to the target date as possible.
“We do recognise how important the opening of the bridge is to the people of Tadcaster. They have been a community literally cut in two for a year and are eagerly looking forward to the time when they will be reconnected.
"We thank them for the patience they have shown and their fortitude and assure them that the bridge will be open for them in the very near future.”
The programme of work is being reviewed by officers and contractors on the bridge twice a day, to look at progress and any changing circumstances.
The council erected a temporary footbridge at the beginning of last February for pedestrians, but said it is pulling out all the stops to get traffic over the bridge by the end of the month.
Coun Mackenzie said that the project had been completed much quicker than is usual for work of this nature and that the opening day would be something for everyone to be proud of.
He said: “All historic bridges are different but normally a job like Tadcaster’s main bridge reconstruction would require at least a nine month lead-in time for designs, procurement, planning permission and access issues all to be put in place.
"We went out there and started the job straight away, accomplishing all these things as we went along. Now we are bringing all of this together to finish the job very soon. It will be a day everybody can be proud of.”