The CRUCIAL road bridge link over the River Tavy to the Bere peninsula is due to reopen in the next few days after traffic damage repairs were due to be completed early, despite bad weather.

Denham Bridge has been closed for more than three weeks after being badly damaged in two hit-and-run collisions which sent heavy stone parapet building blocks into the river and led to its closure for safety reasons.

The highways authority put out an appeal for help in tracing the drivers who damaged the bridge within days of each other and just drove off without reporting the incidents.

The closure has caused disrupton to commuters to Plymouth and families who send their children to Buckland Monachorum Primary School, forcing them on long diversions on rural roads.

Parents have been pressing Devon County Council for group transport to and from school to save them money in fuel and travelling time. Diversions through Tavistock have been even more frustrating than normal because of on-going traffic congestion due to roadworks in the town.

The repairs have been a complex operation, taking place over a fast flowing river often at it highest level. Walkways have been constructed for workers.

A Devon County Council spokesperson said: “The repairs to the bridge are progressing well, despite the recent wet weather, and the bridge is scheduled to reopen by the end of this coming weekend (March 2/3). The parapet has been rebuilt and copings will be added once the lime mortar has had chance to dry. As part of the repair scheme, large concrete blocks will also be installed as a protective measure which will aim to guide vehicles away from the bridge.”