Drivers are being reminded that a section of Timber Beach Road in Sunderland will be closed to vehicles for up to four weeks from this Wednesday.
The closure of the 350-metre section of road, between DW Fitness and Wessington Dental, is essential to allow the new route for Timber Beach Road, which will go under Sunderland’s new Northern Spire bridge, to be connected to the existing road network.
However, pedestrian and cyclist access will be maintained at all times, though cyclists will have to dismount as they travel through the roadworks area.
For the last 18 months, traffic travelling through the enterprise park has been using a temporary route whilst extensive works in this area, including construction of the new road, were underway.
The work is scheduled to take up to four weeks. Work will take place at weekends, as well as on weekdays.
Once the road is re-opened, there will be temporary traffic lights installed on the route for an additional three to four weeks, whilst work continues.
The route is then expected to be fully open, though there will be a final overnight or weekend closure later in the spring to complete the work.
Special plans are being put in place to maintain bus access. During the closure, bus services 8 and 36 will serve Colima Avenue, then divert via the A1231 to the Queen Alexandra Bridge gyratory and onwards along their normal routes.
In addition, a free shuttle bus will be in operation approximately every 15 minutes from 7am to 7pm every day during the closure, running from near the Vauxhall garage on Alexandra Avenue on the east side of the Enterprise Park to the B&Q/Trimdon Street roundabout, on the south side of the river.
This will allow passengers to connect to and from the park to a wide range of destinations.
Traffic will be diverted via the A1231 Wessington Way, which is now fully open with two lanes in each direction.
Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Harry Trueman, said: “I know it will add some time to the journeys of people who work in the area, but I’d just like to ask everyone to drive safely and understand that this is one of the final pieces of the jigsaw before the impressive Northern Spire opens to traffic in the spring.”
The new bridge, which was officially named Northern Spire in December, is the first to be built across the River Wear in the city for 40 years.
It is Phase 2 of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which is a five-phase road enhancement scheme to improve links between the A19 and Sunderland City Centre and the Port of Sunderland.
Phase 1, the city centre St Mary’s scheme, is already complete, and Phase 3, joining the bridge to the city centre, has recently received planning permission, and will get underway this year.
The Northern Spire will link Castletown with Pallion and will enable land along the south side of the river to be regenerated.
It will also attract investment into Sunderland, help to create jobs, and reduce journey time for motorists travelling around the city.