A pipe that has blocked a major A-road for the last week after falling off the back of a lorry is due to be removed later today (July 5).

The incident last Wednesday (June 28) led to the closure of the westbound carriageway between North Ormesby and the Cineworld turn-off in central Middlesbrough.

The 20m-long gas heat exchanger, which weighs more than 40 tonnes, will be lifted by a crane.

The huge object will be lowered onto a low-loader, before being secured and driven away.

Diversions remain in place to divert traffic off the A66, which will remain closed until the pipe has been removed.

The A172 link road between Longlands and the westbound A66 will also be closed from 8pm tonight to allow access for the crane.

The road will re-open once the removal has taken place.

Arrangements for the removal operation are now being finalised and this is also likely to require the temporary closure of the eastbound carriageway.

Temporary repairs will then be carried out to the damaged road surface before it can re-open.

Geoff Field, Middlesbrough Council’s Director of Environment & Commercial Services, said: “We are working round the clock to get the road back open as quickly as we can but to do that we need to get the vessel lifted out and taken away.

“A lot of work has been done around weight calculations for the crane coming in to ensure we get it removed safely.

“Once that’s been done we will repair the damage to the tarmac and to the waterproofing on the bridge itself.

“Where possible this work will be undertaken overnight, but we advise motorists to avoid the area where possible until further notice.

“In the meantime, I’d like to thank the travelling public for their patience and understanding, and assure them that we will have the A66 fully open again as soon as we possibly can.”