Sunderland's A1231 to become dual carriageway between Northern Spire and city centre as Government pledges £40.5million funds - saving drivers two hours a year in journey times
More than £40million has been pledged to ensure a road scheme crucial to Sunderland's economic success becomes a reality.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman has announced that a stretch of A1231 road from the southern end of the Northern Spire bridge and the city centre, will be upgraded to a dual carriageway – which transport chiefs say will save drivers 2.5 minutes a journey and more than two hours a year.
The £40.5million funding will help deliver the third phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC) - a £70.2million project that will support regeneration of sites both sides of the Wear as well as create 1,000 new homes.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: "The Government is investing record amounts to improve travel in towns and cities across Britain.
"Sunderland is a great city with a great future. We hope the schemes we are funding will help to unleash its potential – creating jobs and enabling new homes – and turbocharge the Northern Powerhouse."
This new dual carriageway will run through Pallion, underneath the arches of the Queen Alexandra Bridge into Deptford and onto the city centre and St Mary's Boulevard.
It is the latest part of the SSTC scheme that that has already seen the completion of the Northern Spire and the creation of St Mary's Boulevard alongside the Vaux development site.
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Graeme Miller, said: "As a council one of our biggest priorities is to make sure that we improve our city's transport links.
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"We set out a major investment programme for our highways work and have completed St Mary's Boulevard and all the approach roads to the Northern Spire.
"Our strong case for our works and investment has now been confirmed with this allocation of Government money.
"This third phase of our strategic transport corridor is about better links and connectivity across and through our city. A new dual-carriageway also improves access to more land that can be developed for housing and for businesses.
"I'm very pleased to hear of the announcement and we'll be looking to get started on this in coming weeks."
The announcement came on the day that Highways England started work on the £125million Testo's roundabout scheme, improving traffic flow on the A19 and providing better links to the planned IAMP. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last week announced £10 million to improve cycleways and bus routes across the North East, as part of the government’s Transforming Cities Fund. More than half of the funding will provide improvements for cyclists, including new route connections in Sunderland.
This is the first round of the £1.3billion fund for 12 cities across England to enhance commuter routes into business centres to unlock productivity and boost the economy.
This week, the city was also invited to apply to be one of four new Future of Mobility Zones. The £90million competition will see new transport technologies piloted to see how they improve people’s journeys.