Angry commuters could have to wait a year before the flood hit Elland Bridge is back in use.
As schools and workplaces reopened for the new year, motorists have faced huge tailbacks as other roads become congested.
And the council warned motorists they could have to wait until at least December before a replacement bridge will be ready to use.
The leader of Calderdale Council Tim Swift said: “We have requested Canal and River Trust make an immediate start to designing a replacement for Elland Bridge.
“Unfortunately this will be a major project and initial estimates are that a new bridge would not be in operation until at least December 2016.”
Calderdale Council said as the bridge is a Grade II listed structure it will take longer to repair.
But the CRT, which manages and maintains the bridge, has since released a statement suggesting it did not yet know whether or not it would demolish the bridge and that it had no idea how long it would be before one would be in use.
The statement read: “At this stage our urgent priority is to protect the important utilities carried by the bridge and to reinstate a pedestrian route across the canal. A temporary crossing has been installed enabling local people to cross the canal in the meantime and our engineers continue to work together with their counterparts at Calderdale Council to look into options for the bridge.
“It’s too early to speculate on specific costs and timescales for repair, though clearly the bridge has suffered significant damage and will be out of use for some time, but we will give local people further information as things become clearer.”
This will be of little comfort to people using roads around Elland, with some commuters claiming the extra congestion adds an hour onto their morning journey.
Natalie West runs Fast Snax tea bar next to the bridge, and said the closure has had a massive effect on the area.
“All the way down Exley Lane it’s just traffic,” she added. “It’s all anybody seems to speak about
Commuter and mum Daniella Hahn lives in West Vale, and claims it takes an hour to get out of Elland during the morning rush.
“It takes such a long time to get out of Park Road to Brighouse or Halifax,” she added.
Michael Irving said on Facebook: “In California a whole motorway collapses and it’s up and running in three months, but we need a year for a bridge?
“No wonder Britain is no longer the major power it once was. Brunel will be turning in his grave.”