Highways England has revealed the details of a £600 million investment in the region that will take place by 2020.
The government-owned company, established earlier this year, has a five-year budget of more than £11 billion to invest in England’s major A roads. Earlier today, the organisation announced its plans for the North East at a launch event at Newcastle’s Great North Museum.
Highways England’s director of major projects in the North, Jeremy Bloom, stated: “Over the next five years, drivers in the North East will see significant investment in major A roads and motorways. We’re investing £600 million in major improvements to the North East, including the start or completion of six major road projects and the further development of four more major projects.
“These schemes will provide significant benefits to users of the North East Strategic Road Network. Construction will, of course, cause some temporary disruption, but we will work hard to keep this to a minimum in order to keep traffic flowing.” Vanessa Gilbert, Divisional Director of Highways England Yorkshire and the North East, added:
“In addition to the £600 million in major improvements across the region, it is critical that we continue to improve the existing road network, which is why we will spend £130 million per year for the next five years on maintenance and smaller scale improvement schemes across Yorkshire and the North East. Motorways and trunk roads are the backbone of the region’s economy, and this massive investment will ensure their long-term viability.”
In the next five years, two major road improvements on the A1 and A19 will be completed:
A1 Coal House to Metro Centre – This £61 million scheme, which began in August 2014, will add an extra lane on a four-mile stretch of the A1 between junctions 67 Coal House and 71 Metro Centre, providing three lanes in each direction. On a third-of-a-mile stretch of the A1 between junctions 68 at Lobley Hill and 69 at Gateshead Quays, the number of lanes will be increased from two to five. This will serve as a link for local road users, assisting in keeping traffic moving on the A1.
A19 Coast Road – Construction on this £100 million project is set to begin in spring 2016. The A19 connects to the Port of Tyne and major employment areas. We propose to upgrade the existing roundabout at the A19/A1058 Coast Road junction to a three-level interchange. The project will help to regenerate Tyne and Wear and Northumberland by reducing congestion, increasing capacity, and shortening journey times at the junction. Benefits will also include improved road safety and pedestrian and cyclist facilities.
Work on four schemes will begin:
A19 Testos – A £70 million junction improvement project is set to begin in 2017/18. Building a flyover to take the A19 over the Testos interchange. The A19 will be connected to the new larger roundabout via entry and exit slip roads.
A19 Down Hill Lane – a £40 million junction improvement project that will begin in 2017/18.
A1 and A19 technology enhancements – a £140 million investment in technology that is expected to begin in 2016. The scheme is currently being designed.
A19 Norton to Wynyard Road Widening Project – £140 – £220 million, road widening project to relieve congestion. We are currently evaluating scheme options.
In addition to this investment, Highways England will carry forward and deliver solutions to the A1 North of Newcastle feasibility study. Consultation with key stakeholders, traffic and environmental surveys, and construction of the A1 North of Ellingham enhancements in advance of the dualling scheme, which is scheduled to begin in 2018, will begin this year.
The development of three future A1 schemes is still ongoing. These are the dualling of the A1 from Morpeth to Ellingham, the widening of the A1 from Scotswood to North Brunton, and the widening of the A1 from Birtley to Coal House.