A busy road could be closed until next week after a major spillage left it in an 'unsafe' condition.
The A1231 has been closed eastbound between the Mill House roundabout and the A182 Washington Highway since an HGV spilled some of its load of around two tonnes of a non-hazardous by-product of the leather tanning process, along a half mile section last Thursday.
Sunderland City Council says skid resistance tests found that sections of the road surface are still unsafe following the spillage, despite efforts to remove it.
Now it has arranged for contractors to be on standby to begin resurfacing affected areas of the eastbound section of the A1231 from tomorrow. This could allow the road to reopen by Monday, weather permitting.
Specialist contractors were brought in by the company which owns the HGV to carry out the clean-up operation due to the nature and extent of both the spillage and the required recovery operation.
The council says it will be seeking full recovery of costs incurred although it has not said how much that will amount to.
Highway Engineers estimate that in total, around 10,000 square metres of road will need to be resurfaced, including around 900 metres of the dual carriageway, a 300 metre section of the off-slip road and some other additional areas.
Coun Amy Wilson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "The condition of the road surface has improved but not to a point where it is safe to re-open the road, particularly given that it is a high speed road.
"This is a critical link in the road network and its closure is causing major inconvenience to the 17,000 people a day who use it, not to mention the knock-on impact on all the other roads that it links to.
"We simply can’t afford to have it closed going into next week. That is why we have taken the decision as the local highway authority that the only realistic way of getting the road reopened quickly is by resurfacing the sections which are still below the necessary safety levels.
"Public safety is paramount and we have to be sure that the road is safe before it can re-open."