Motorists are set to benefit from eased congestion and improved safety as work on north Tyneside’s £75m triple decker roundabout approaches completion.
Highways England say the multi-million pound scheme is now 80% complete with more than 35,000 vehicles expected to use the new road each day once it opens in March next year.
The scheme is on the main route to and from the Tyne Tunnel and will mean that people travelling along the A19 will no longer have to queue at the roundabout to go straight on. Instead drivers will be able to use a new section of road which will run under the existing junction.
Highway bosses say 80,000 cubic metres of soil has been removed from the site during the preparation works. This equates to enough soil to fill 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools as workers have battled on to create an underpass, through which the A19 will now run. The Silverlink roundabout will remain above, while the A1058 Coast Road will continue to run on top of the junction.
As part of the scheme, improvements will be carried out to 1,175 metres of cycleway and an extra 247 metres will be created. The project has employed six graduate or apprentices and 60% of its workforce is from the north east.
Commenting on the update, Highways England assistant project manager Steven Cox said: "You can really see the junction starting to take shape with the three layers and it's fantastic that we are now entering the final stages. Work to remove the 80,000 cubic metres of soil has now been completed and this marks yet another major milestone on this vital scheme. We have six months left on site and we will be pulling out all the stops to ensure this scheme is completed on time.”
The construction has been part of the government’s five-year £15bn roads investment programme, designed to support opportunities and economic growth in the north east as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative.