A GRADE II listed bridge in North Yorkshire has been damaged for the third time in recent weeks after being hit by a vehicle.

Blakey Bridge, in Sowerby near Thirsk, has been closed after being hit over the weekend.

The historic limestone bridge that crosses Cod Beck has been damaged by large vehicles in the past and there is now concern for the safety of road users as a substantial amount of the parapet wall has been demolished.

Although the road is passable with care the bridge has now been closed on safety grounds, but access will be maintained for pedestrians and cyclists.

The bridge was due to be closed from the end of September for six months as part of the traffic management for the construction of a new interchange on the A168 and B1448 as part of the Sowerby Gateway development. The bridge will now remain closed until the interchange works are complete next March 2015.

A spokeswoman from North Yorkshire County Council said: “A structural survey of the bridge will now be carried out to determine the extent of the damage and necessary repairs will be arranged.”

County councillor Robert Baker, local member for Sowerby, said: “We appreciate that the bridge closure will be an inconvenience for local traffic, but we need to ensure the safety of motorists.”

Thirsk resident Barry Oglby, who writes local blog Barry in Thirsk’s Adventures, said large vehicles should not be allowed on the bridge.

“It is a great shame that it is damaged again – it is an iconic and historic bridge in the area and is part our local heritage,” he said.

“Large and heavy vehicles should absolutely be banned from using the bridge to preserve it for the future.”