£220m project to ease congestion on A1 underway
Work has begun on a multi-million pound project to ease congestion and cut journey times along a busy stretch of the A1 in Gateshead.
Highways England says drivers will enjoy better access to the Metrocentre and the Team Valley industrial estate after the £220m scheme is complete.
Initial work is under way on the major route between junctions 65 (Birtley) and 67 (Coal House) which will pave the way for major work to start in the summer.
The scheme will increase capacity on the southbound carriageway to four lanes and three lanes to the northbound carriageway.
As part of the project, a new replacement Allerdene railway bridge will be constructed immediately south of the existing bridge, which will be removed.
Improvements will also be made to the Birtley, Eighton Lodge and Coal House junctions as part of the works – set to be completed by 2025.
Drivers are being warned of delays with overnight closures of lanes, slip roads and roundabouts expected during the works.
It is hoped the significant investment will create more reliable journeys, improve safety and reduce congestion along the busy four-mile stretch.
Highways England project manager, Nicola Wilkes, said: “This initial early work is important as we head towards major work starting later this year, which when complete will provide drivers with safer, smoother and more reliable journeys along this extremely vital route for the region.
“We’ve already started installing CCTV cameras in the verges and once this is complete we will begin to install narrower lanes. These are needed to provide the room for the work to take place.
“This will require ongoing overnight lane closures on the A1M, as well as some slip roads and roundabouts, to enable to the work to be carried out safely.
“Whilst we will keep disruption to a minimum for drivers using the route, we advise our customers to keep alert to changing traffic management and to allow extra time for journeys.
“We would also ask that customers drive appropriately for their safety, as well as that of our workforce. I’d like to thank everyone in advance for their co-operation. We’re excited to get this scheme under way.”
Drivers are urged to check updates regarding the upgrade visiting https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/yorkshire-and-north-east/a1-birtley-to-coal-house / or follow @HighwaysNEAST on Twitter.