It’s a hat trick! Another boost to North East economy as third A19 upgrade opens to traffic
The A19 Downhill Lane project will provide additional capacity at the junction between the A19 and the A1290 in Sunderland, supporting the regional economy and providing access to the planned International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) development to the north of the plant of Nissan’s engine manufacturing.
The upgrade is part of the government’s drive to build back better after the pandemic and upgrade regions across the country and closely follows last year’s opening of the A19 Norton in Wynyard and improvements from A19 Testo.
The Routes Nationales marked time today (Wednesday 16 March) by cutting a ribbon to open a new pedestrian, cycling and equestrian footbridge over the main roadway. Key stakeholders including Costain Delivery Partners, Jacobs Scheme Designers, Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council were in attendance.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere de Norbiton said:
I am delighted to see this multi-million pound program open to circulation. Our funding will give a fantastic boost to the economy of the North East, make it easier for millions of people to travel around the region and is a great example of how this government is leveling the country by allowing greater access to opportunities and employment.
National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said:
This is the third upgrade to the A19 that we have been able to open to traffic in the last eight months and another milestone in the substantial investment made in the main A routes in the North East.
The International Advanced Manufacturing Park is expected to create up to 7,850 new jobs and attract £295m of investment by 2026/27. Having the infrastructure in place to support this is essential.
These improvements will make a major contribution to the region, from improving journeys to and from the region’s ports and Teesside Airport, to improving journey times for local people who can return home sooner. quickly and safely to their families or to and from their place of work.
Our roads not only drive our economy, they support local and national businesses and are essential for our emergency services to support local communities.
The A19 Downhill Lane project saw the construction of a full roundabout at the junction and improvements to the existing A19. New traffic lights have been installed at the crossroads, a new road bridge has been installed and a bridge provided for walkers, cyclists and equestrians.
National highways have also improved adjacent rights-of-way, helping to support and encourage non-polluting and healthier travel options.
Improved access from the A19 encourages drivers to stay on the strategic route, which is more suitable for moving large volumes of traffic, and off the local road network, improving the environment for those who live and work in the area.
Cllr Jim Foreman, Senior Member for Housing and Transport, South Tyneside Council, said:
It’s great to see this work completed and for drivers to start enjoying the benefits of this program.
The A19 is the economic artery linking South Tyneside to the wider region and beyond, and these improvements are a major boost.
Along with increasing capacity, reducing congestion and improving connectivity to the local road network, this program is key to promoting economic growth and ensuring that we can unlock the full potential of IAMP and other employment and investment opportunities.
Located next to the Nissan factory, IAMP is a joint venture between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council to provide a state-of-the-art manufacturing venue and an attractive location for national and international investment.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chairman of the North East Joint Transportation Committee, said:
We are pleased to support the A19 Downhill Lane Junction Improvement Scheme which Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils have worked hard to develop. It’s great to see that one of the main aims of the program is to increase sustainable walking and cycling links to the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) via a connected pedestrian bridge across the A19. We also commend the project team for their efforts to achieve carbon savings by reallocating existing road materials to the development.
The works will bring huge socio-economic benefits to the region by significantly improving access to a number of major manufacturing plants in the North East, meaning there will be better connectivity to job sites keys, as well as the creation of thousands of new jobs through the expansion of the IAMP – something that will bring us closer to realizing our vision of becoming a green, healthy, vibrant and prosperous North East.
Over half a million man-hours were worked on the A19 Downhill Lane project, with 60% of the workforce made up of local staff.
Some £3million in savings was made by delivering the project at the same time as work on the A19 Testo’s Junction, and £150,000 was saved by reusing materials such as stone from access roads to the Testo’s website.
In addition, 100,000 tonnes of earth were reused from the £75 million A19/A1058 Coast Road project delivered in 2019, while 44,000 cubic meters of material was reused at Washington Road.
The new steel bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians weighs 550 tons.
Just under 600 steel columns have been installed as part of the foundations for the new road bridge, which is 37 meters long and 14.5 meters wide.
Elsewhere in the region, National Highways is carrying out a series of improvements along the A1 corridor between Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead by increasing the number of lanes in each direction between junction 74 at Scotswood and junction 79 at North Brunton as well as between Junction 65 at Birtley and Junction 67 at Coal House. Both projects will improve capacity and security and unlock potential future growth.
Watch a video about the A19 Downhill Lane upgrade:
Downhill route A19
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