FUNNY how times change. The poor communities of Morton-on-Swale and neighbouring Ainderby Steeple face a major uphill struggle trying to get something done about their troublesome bridge, which seems forever on the receiving end of bad driving, following news of the latest vehicle crashing into it.

And while there really is no guarantee a bypass would absolutely solve the problem Spectator is reminded of a public meeting held in the village in the mid-80s when highway officers distinctly told the gathered residents they probably would get a bypass within the next decade.

Not only would it now be long overdue it seems to have disappeared off the agenda altogether. Faced with swingeing cuts to budgets and a distinct change of direction in thinking on transport, the authority seems to have no plans whatsoever to go for a bypass.

In fact perusing the most recent Local Transport Plan - always a good alternative if you’re not keen on wall-to-wall footy - it’s all about east-west connectivity and targeting the major towns. Bypasses, generally known as relief roads in highway speak because communities don’t want to think they’ve been bypassed, are only on the cards for Harrogate and Selby. Northallerton is getting a bit of a nod in the direction of relief with the new road incorporating a railway bridge but there seem to be no other big schemes in the offing.

So what to do for Morton-on-Swale? The community and countless A684 commuters face weeks of dithering and delays while work is carried out again to repair the Grade II-listed structure. To move the issue up a gear perhaps a new approach is needed to build bridges.