Sunderland drivers face 12 months of traffic misery as work begins on new Wear bridge project

Artist's impression of how the new Wear bridge will look when finished.
Artist's impression of how the new Wear bridge will look when finished.
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Drivers are facing more than a year’s worth of traffic pain as work takes place to pave the way for the new Wear bridge.

Advance road works will start on the A1231 Wessington Way from Monday October 12, with a 250m stretch of the westbound carriageway (opposite Sainsbury’s), heading towards the A19, reduced to one lane until the end of the year.

Map showing how the advance works for the new Wear crossing that start next week will affect traffic using the affected roads through the city.

Map showing how the advance works for the new Wear crossing that start next week will affect traffic using the affected roads through the city.

This is to allow utility connections to be diverted.

But the real pain will begin in January, with roadworks, lane restrictions and reduced speed limits along several routes:

•A1231 Wessington Way – down to one lane in both directions for around 12 months

•The short section of Timber Beach Road that links the A1231 Wessington Way with the main road through Sunderland Enterprise Park will close permanently from January 2016

Map showing how the main 2016 works on the new Wear crossing will affect traffic.

Map showing how the main 2016 works on the new Wear crossing will affect traffic.

•The roundabout connecting European Way and Pallion New Road will see extensive upgrading works carried out.

There will also be smaller elements of work taking place for shorter periods on roads linked to the scheme to the north and south of the river.

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This work is absolutely essential in order to build the New Wear Crossing, which will be at the heart of Sunderland’s new road network connecting the A19 to the city centre and the Port of Sunderland.

“Understandably, we expect there will be disruption and delays, so anyone travelling along or around the A1231 Wessington Way or around European Way in Pallion during 2016 should allow extra time for their journey or seek alternative routes.”

The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.

It is the first bridge to be built over the Wear in the city for more than 40 years and is part of the wider strategic transport plan to link the Port of Sunderland and city centre to the strategic highway network (A19/ A1), attract new jobs and investment to Sunderland and help to regenerate the area.

Stephen McCaffrey, is the Project Director with FVB JV, the partnership set up by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to deliver the project. He said: “We’ve worked closely with the council to ensure that we can keep at least one lane open in each direction along the A1231 Wessington Way throughout the work, but we all recognise that this essential work is going to cause some delays and we’ll be working hard over the coming weeks and months to give people as much advance warning as possible.”

David Abdy, Project Director of the New Wear Crossing Project for Sunderland City Council, said: “The advance works that start next week will only affect the westbound carriageway of the A1231 Wessington Way, but they will cause some disruption and we’d like to ask drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to travel safely, respect the lower speed limits and allow a bit of extra time for their journeys.”

Roadworks in detail:

A1231 Wessington Way

Advance works – these will begin on Monday 12 October and will last until the end of the year.

A 250 metre stretch of the westbound Wessington Way route (opposite Sainsbury’s) will be reduced to one lane so the construction team can widen the grass verge and road around the side of the DW Fitness building near the Castletown roundabout on the A1231 Wessington Way.

Main works – these will start in January 2016 and will see the A1231 Wessington Way reduced to one lane in both directions for around 12 months, between the Queen Alexandra Bridge junction and the roundabout that connects Wessington Way with Colima Avenue (near the footbridge and McDonalds). There will also be reduced speed limits in place throughout this time.

The works will see the Castletown roundabout on Wessington Way (beside Sainsbury’s) at the junction with Timber Beach Road replaced with traffic lights. This will give direct access from the A1231 Wessington Way to the new bridge, across to Pallion and on to the city centre and the Port of Sunderland, and cater for the changes in the area as people use this junction to access the new bridge.

Timber Beach Road

The short section of Timber Beach Road that links the A1231 Wessington Way with the main road through Sunderland Enterprise Park will close permanently from January 2016.

Access between Sunderland Enterprise Park and the A1231 Wessington Way will be via the two Colima Avenue routes or via the Queen Alexandra Bridge junction.

This section of road is being closed permanently to make way for a new road linking the A1231 Wessington Way directly to the new bridge, across the river to Pallion and on to the city centre and the Port of Sunderland.

The main section of Timber Beach Road that connects Hylton Park Road to Colima Avenue will remain open throughout the works and once the works are complete.

Pallion New Road and European Way

The roundabout between European Way and Pallion New Road is being replaced with traffic lights, which will speed up traffic flow in the area and give direct access from Pallion across the new bridge to the A1231 Wessington Way, and on to the A19. This work will also start in January 2016, and will last for around for 15 months.