Officials in Chatham-Kent are blaming "unforeseen circumstances" for delaying the reopening of the Fifth Street Bridge — a major crossing point near the centre of the municipality — until June.

Construction was originally scheduled to be completed by Dec. 22, but Adam Sullo, director of engineering and transportation for the municipality, said demolition delays and "minor design changes" mean winter conditions will soon shut down the project for the season.

"Attempts were made to accelerate the schedule but [we] were unable to achieve opening prior to the end of the year," he stated in a media release. "The municipality is exploring all its options to ensure completion provisions of the contract are enforced."

Work on the bridge will continue as soon as weather conditions will allow, Sullo said, adding staff "appreciates the patience and consideration of Chatham-Kent residents."