Huge traffic jam builds up on A690 towards Sunderland as assessment work begins on A19 roundabout
Miles of traffic has built up on the A690 Durham Road heading for Sunderland and the A19 as assessment work begins ahead of future roadworks.
Motorists have been left queuing up beyond Houghton this morning as restrictions begin as part of investigation works by Sunderland City Council.
Photos and videos shared by North East Live Traffic – which can be followed on Twitter via @NELiveTraffic – show drivers backed up in both lanes, with one lane close to Stoney Gate then closed off to vehicles heading towards Doxford Park and the A19.
Go North East has diverted its South Shields-bound 20 service via Newbottle, Herrington Burn and New Herrington, because of 30 minute delays on the A690.
It is omitting Houghton Cut, Stoneygate and West Park from the route.
The week-long assessment will be carried out on the impact of traffic on a major junction with the aim of looking at future road improvements and safe working areas.
The proposals for the junction of the A19 and A690 serving Doxford International Business Park include lane widening.
There will be temporary coned closures from today up until Friday to assess the effects of the traffic.
During the week, the A19 Southbound exit slip road will be reduced from three lanes to two narrow lanes.
The A690 North- Eastbound approach will be reduced from three lanes to two narrow lanes.
The B1286 City Way from approach will be reduced from three lanes to two narrow lanes.
The B1286 City Way exit from the roundabout will be reduced to two narrow lanes.
Roadworks are then expected to begin from Friday and will take a month to complete.
There will be a temporary lane closure on the A690 North-Eastern bound carriageway for that time.
Ahead of the works, cabinet member for environment and transport, Councillor Amy Wilson said: "We hope motorists using this busy stretch of road will be patient with us during these temporary lane closures, because while they will not see any construction work taking place, monitoring the effects on traffic flow will help us plan better for the longer term lane closures needed when work does begin.
“This junction is an especially busy one, so it is important for us to know what impact essential roadworks will have both on the A19 and the surrounding local road network.
The second scheduled phase of roadworks will begin on Monday, November 25 and will last around nine months.
The proposed improvements include the A19 Southbound exit slip road being expanded from three to four lanes, the A690 Eastbound approach road being expanded from three to four lane lanes and the B1286 City Way being expanded from three to four lanes.