Sunderland motorists are in for a happy Christmas, with roadworks for the new Wear Crossing at Pallion set to finish by the end of the year.
And one of the city’s busiest roads will partially reopen next week, three months after it was closed for work on the new Wear Crossing.
Motorists using Pallion Junction will get a boost when European Way reopens westbound on Friday, July 15, after being closed for 12 weeks.
The eastbound section will remain closed until late August to enable the construction team to complete drainage work and service diversions.
The four-way temporary traffic lights at Pallion Junction will remain in operation throughout this time, and the existing signed diversion for eastbound traffic, via St Luke’s Road, will continue.
Improvement works in Pallion are running ahead of schedule and the whole of Pallion Junction and European Way will be fully open to traffic for around a month to six weeks from late August.
However, traffic management will be reinstalled from the end of September and one lane of Pallion Subway will be closed, with a diversion in place, until around the end of the year.
It is expected all major work in the area will be complete by New Year, with only minor work carrying on until the spring.
Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for FVB joint venture, which is building the bridge, said: “We’re making good progress on this section of the scheme, and we’re ahead of schedule to complete the major works before Christmas.
"As well as this, we’ve been able to organise our activity so that we can completely open the junction for around a month to six weeks later this summer, which is good news for drivers.
"I’d like to thank everyone who uses Pallion Junction for their patience while we carry out this essential work.”
Local shops and businesses, including those at Pallion Retail Park, Pallion High Street, Pallion Quay and Pallion Industrial Estate, will remain open as normal at all times. Local retailers, landowners and businesses are being kept informed about the plans as work develops.
Manually-controlled traffic lights will remain in operation at weekends and bank holidays when local shops are at their busiest.
The end result of the work will be a four-way junction with traffic lights on the site of the current roundabout linking Woodbine Terrace, Pallion New Road, European Way and Pallion Subway, which will allow traffic to connect to the new bridge when it opens in the spring of 2018.
City council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “It’s good to see the project team is starting to re-open some roads as work moves forward and I know that local people will be pleased to hear this news.
"This project will make the Pallion area, along with the city centre and the Port of Sunderland, much more accessible.”
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For more information, go to http://www.newwearcrossing.co.uk, or call 0800 223 0379.