Sunderland and Durham get £4million to improve traffic hotspots

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A GOVERNMENT scheme has awarded councils in Sunderland and Durham more than £4million to improve some of the area’s worst traffic hot spots.

Sunderland City Council has been awarded £1.82million by the Local Pinch Point Fund to put towards a £2.6million project at three troublesome junctions.

All three cross the A19, with the junctions at the A1231, A183 and A690 identified for work to ease congestion by the Sunderland Strategic Junctions Improvement Scheme.

A further £2.2million has been awarded to Durham County Council to help fund £3.1million-worth of improvement to the A167 in Chester-le-Street.

Work on both projects is planned to be completed next year.

Sunderland’s plans state a desire to reduce the average journey time through each junction by 15 per cent.

This will be achieved, they say, with a “full technical upgrade” of the traffic light systems at each junction, including the introduction of Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA).

MOVA uses an online microprocessor to ensure lights stay green for as long as is needed to “minimise queuing at traffic signalled junctions”.

“Sunderland City Council proposes to complete a full technological upgrade of three existing signalised roundabouts on the A19.

“The upgrade will entail a full installation of MOVA infrastructure at each junction,” says the Improvement Scheme’s report.

“MOVA is designed to cater for the full range of traffic conditions, from very low flows through to a junction that is overloaded. The software operates in a ‘delay minimising mode’ whereby if any approach becomes overloaded it switched the signals to cope with the increased traffic.

“This will enable active real-time management of the traffic flow along the A19.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced yesterday afternoon that Sunderland and Durham were among 62 successful applications nationally.

“The schemes we have announced today are designed to target key bottlenecks around the country, making life easier for the thousands of motorists and businesses who use the local road network every day,” he said.