Drivers warned ahead of closures on A19 and Tyne Tunnel this weekend as improvements continue
Drivers are set for a weekend of disruption as work goes on to improve North East transport links in years to come.
Highways England has said work will take place this weekend to fully open the new southbound lanes on the A19 at Testo’s roundabout in Boldon so work to construct the flyover can continue as part of the £124.5 million project.
Meanwhile, the northbound Tyne Tunnel will be closed – leaving all traffic to use the southbound route – while maintenance is carried out.
In December traffic started to use the new northbound lanes and the work this weekend will now mean traffic will use the new lanes in both directions while the flyover to carry the A19 over the roundabout is being built.
Highways England senior project manager Tom Howard said: “I am delighted that we have now moved onto another key stage in this project.
“As we move towards the spring will now be focussing on the construction of the flyover, which will be built in three separate stages – putting in the piers – central supports, building supporting walls to retain earth and support the beams, and then finally installing the beams themselves.
“By the end of the summer, the flyover will be in position and ready for the road to be built on it.”
To carry out the traffic switch the road will be closed from 8pm on Friday, January 24, until 6am on Monday, January 27.
A fully signed diversion will be in place.
The upgrade will see the A19 raised above the existing Testo’s roundabout and new slip roads built to connect it to the A184.
This will create a free-flowing A19 as drivers will no longer need to negotiate a junction, and can instead continue uninterrupted.
The major scheme to improve congestion and reduce journey times for drivers using the busy South Tyneside route started last March, and is due to be completed in summer 2021.
Between Testo’s and Downhill Lane it will also build the new connection road, so that it can move southbound traffic away from the area needed to build the flyover.
Meanwhile, Tyne Tunnel operator TT2 Limited is advising customers to allow extra time for journeys this weekend as the northbound tunnel is set to close for essential maintenance.
Customers will be directed to use the southbound tunnel, which will operate as both north and southbound crossing, while the maintenance takes place.
This could lead to increased congestion, which may cause a slightly longer journey time may be required.
The northbound tunnel will be closed from 6.00am on Saturday, January 25, until approximately 7pm on Sunday, January 26.
TT2 Limited has ensured extra staff are available during the closure to help customers with queries and to make using the temporarily bidirectional southbound tunnel.
A permit only lane will also be available for pre-pay customers.
Chris Ward, customer operations manager at TT2 Limited said: “TT2 appreciate that it is an inconvenience to close one of our tunnels over the weekend, and TT2 want to thank customers for their understanding and patience.
“TT2 occasionally need to carry out essential maintenance that takes more time than our usual overnight work, to keep disruption to a minimum a dedicated lane for pre-paid customers will be open and additional staff are being drafted in during the closure.
“There will be clear signposting of the route traffic needs to take through the southbound tunnel.”
Further information about the Testo's project can be found by following @highwaysNEAST on Twitter or calling the Highways England Information Line on 0300 123 5000.