End in sight for New Wear Crossing roadworks after two years

The New Wear Crossing
The New Wear Crossing

The end is in sight for roadworks that have meant delays for motorists on one of Sunderland's busiest routes for two years.

Work on the A1231 Wessington Way, between the Colima Avenue roundabout, near McDonald’s, and the Queen Alexandra Bridge gyratory, as part of the New Wear Crossing project is due to finish by the end of the month.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson and Project leader Stephen McCaffrey at the New Wear Crossing site

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson and Project leader Stephen McCaffrey at the New Wear Crossing site

But first the road will have to be closed for about 11 nights to enable resurfacing works to be carried out.

The overnight closures will begin on Monday, October 16, and are due to end on the morning of Friday, October 27, weather permitting.

The overnight closures will operate as follows: Monday-Wednesday 8pm–6am; Thursday 9pm-6am; Friday 9pm-7am; Saturday 9pm– 8am, and Sunday 9pm-6am.

A pedestrian route through the closure will be available at all times.

The overnight diversions that will be in place from next week

The overnight diversions that will be in place from next week

The resurfacing work will bring an end to roadworks which began in autumn 2015 to connect the existing road network to Sunderland’s new bridge across the River Wear. It is on track to open in the spring of next year.

The resurfacing works are to be carried out overnight to minimise disruption, and to ensure all routes remain open during the busiest times of the day.

During the overnight closures, traffic will be diverted along Colima Avenue, Timber Beach Road, Hylton Park Road, Alexandra Avenue and Camden Street.

Drivers will be able to access Sainsbury’s supermarket, from the east, along Dene Road, Castletown Road and Riverside Road, or from the west, along Northern Way, Dean Road, Bruntland Avenue and Riverside Road.

Once the works on the A1231 are complete at around the end of October, all of the major roadworks along Wessington Way will be finished, with only minor works, such as landscaping, to be carried out.

A new three-way junction, with traffic lights, will also be in operation at the A1231 junction with Castletown Way, replacing the roundabout that was there previously. This will become a four-way junction once the new bridge and northern approach road are finished in the spring of next year.

A lower speed limit of 50mph along Wessington Way is being proposed to increase capacity and ensure traffic moves more efficiently, in preparation of the bridge opening.

Later this year, a section of Timber Beach Road and Hylton Park Road, which runs through Sunderland Business Park, will be closed for three weeks to enable a new section of road, which will run under the bridge, to be connected to the existing road network. Dates for the closure have not been confirmed yet, but diversions will be in place, replacement bus services provided, and signs and information notices displayed well in advance.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Paul Watson, said: "It’s great news that we are approaching the completion of the major roadworks along the A1231 Wessington Way.

"We understand they have caused some disruption and delays for drivers and very much appreciate the patience shown by businesses, residents and motorists throughout the duration of the works.

"We are entering the final stages of construction of the new bridge project and I’m sure everyone is as excited as me to see Sunderland’s new bridge open.

"We have made great progress and the bridge already looks impressive. I don’t think we can over-estimate the impact it will have on the city in the future."

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction, which formed FVB joint venture to deliver the project on behalf of Sunderland City Council, urged motorists to drive carefully through roadworks and to adhere to speed limits: "I would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding whilst we have been carrying out major roadworks on both sides of the river. We appreciate they may have hampered people, but the works were necessary in order to connect the existing road network into the new bridge.

"There will be some minor works to complete along Wessington Way, and a temporary closure of Timber Beach Road and Hylton Park Road is planned for later this year, but we are nearing the end of the major roadworks, which I’m sure is good news for people."