Motorists face lengthy delays as six months of roadworks are set to begin
Motorists warned to expect lengthy delays when major roadworks lasting at least six months begin.
Bridge repairs near the Heworth roundabout will affect thousands of motorists travelling to and from Sunderland and South Tyneside along the A184 Felling bypass and A185 Shields Road towards Gateshead and Newcastle.
Gateshead Borough Council has announced that diversions will begin at 6am on Sunday when the Felling bypass will be closed to all traffic at the roundabout while the road is coned off.
Local access from the A184 to the Lakes Estate at Coniston and to Grange Road and High Lanes will be maintained.
Once the cones have been installed, a single lane will be reopen in either direction with delays expected from Monday, January 29, onwards.
Monday also marks the start of a second set of roadworks affecting South Tyneside motorists as work begins on the £8.1m scheme to clear bottlenecks at the A185-A194 Arches junction in South Shields. Back at Heworth, the A185 Shields Road either side of the roundabout, used by motorists from Hebburn, Jarrow and South Shields, will also close on January 28 and will not reopen to traffic (except buses) until after the repair work is finished.
The roundabout, which is supported on a series of concrete bridges carrying the road over Network Rail and Metro lines, has been causing structural engineers serious concern after they detected water seeping into the bridge structures last year.
If left unchecked, this water could cause serious and irreparable structural damage to the bridges.
Repair work will involve the complete removal of the road surface to allow the bridge decks to be waterproofed and a new road surface then applied.
The work is expected to take between six and seven months to complete.
Anneliese Hutchinson, the council's service director for development, transport and public protection, says: “We’ve worked hard to devise plans for this complicated repair job which will minimise disruption to the public.
"But this is an extremely busy and congested route and any repair is bound to cause some delay.
“We know this work will be especially inconvenient for residents of Pelaw and Bill Quay, but we’ve looked at all of the alternatives and all of them would have caused even greater congestion and taken longer to complete.
“On average, more than 42,000 cars use this route every day so it is inevitable that some motorists will experience delays while we carry out this repair work. We therefore urge motorists to explore the various travel alternatives or find a different route.
“We are fortunate that the area is well-served by public transport and we are retaining the bus lane along the Felling bypass, so we are urging people to plan their journey and use public transport wherever possible. Metro and train services should also be unaffected by these works.”
For more detailed information, go to www.gateshead.gov.uk/heworthroundabout