LORRIES and wagons are having to drive through a residential community because of road restrictions
About 100 heavy good vehicles go in and out of Eppleton Quarry, on the busy B1404 Seaham to Houghton road.
The A19 dual carriageway is just 1.5miles to the east of the quarry, but because of an 18-tonne weight limit on a stretch of road near the Seaton Lane Inn pub, HGVs have to travel five miles in the other direction and must get to the A19 via Houghton Cut.
Residents living where the vehicles pass say they are sick of the noise from traffic and muck shed by the wagons.
Independent councillor Colin Wakefield, who has been challenging the restrictions since 2003, said: “Last year, planning permission was granted to quarry materials from Eppleton for the next 25 years.
“One of the planning conditions, and the one which causes most complaints from Houghton residents, is that wagons can only turn right onto the B1404.
“They have to travel past homes in Seaham Road, through the Market Place and either onto the A182 toward Hetton, or towards Washington via Houghton town centre.
“There is no physical reason for the weight restriction.
“It is just to prevent HGVs passing through the small number of houses there. Why should a few residents be protected at the expense of many more?
“We want Sunderland City Council to urge Durham County Council to remove this unnecessary restriction.”
Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, Dave Wilcox, said: “Weight restrictions are put in place where it is necessary to protect structures, such as bridges, or where the local environment is not favourable for use by heavy goods vehicles.
“Before a weight restriction is introduced, very careful consideration is given and all relevant issues are taken into account.”
Coun James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said those people with traffic or road safety concerns should email the authority at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coun Blackburn said: “Traffic and road management is undertaken with a number of different partners and agencies.
“We work together to meet the needs of motorists and residents and the city council continues to monitor the situation.”