Motorists face more delays as sinkhole repair work continues

Toll charges have been lifted at the Tyne Tunnel while repair work is completed on the A1.

Toll charges have been lifted at the Tyne Tunnel while repair work is completed on the A1.

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Motorists are facing a fresh round of delays as repair work on a sinkhole one of the region's busiest routes continues.

Thousands of frustrated drivers have been hit by hold-ups since the crater emerged on the A1, near the Lobley Interchange, northbound, on Saturday night.

A raft of congestion-cutting measures have been launched by highways bosses while the work is carried out.

A contraflow was put in place between junctions 67 and 68 in time for the peak Monday morning travel period to enable traffic to move in both directions along the route.

The hole, which is 3m deep and around 6.5m diameter and believed to be related to old mine workings in the area, has now been filled with a specialist concrete mixture. Contractors working for Highways England are now drilling holes to pump more material underneath the repair to prevent further collapse.

It is intended the carriageways will be safe to re-open to drivers on Wednesday morning.

Toll charges have been suspended at the Tyne Tunnel while the work is carried out.

But drivers have been warned to make more time for their journeys due to the increased volume of traffic moving through the tunnel.

TT2, the operators of the tunnel, have put in place traffic measures to cope with the increased demand.

They tweeted this morning: "Thanks for your patience during the A1 works, please allow extra time for your journey, drive courteously and merge in turn when necessary.

"To assist traffic flow southbound we have employed cones and traffic management to assist the smooth flow of traffic. Thank you."

Stuart Sutton, Operations Manager at the Tyne Tunnels said: “Thanks to close partnership working with Highways England and The North East Combined Authority, we have been able to deliver this toll free period, which will hopefully minimise the congestion experienced by our customers and motorists across the region”.

A raft of congestion-cutting measures have been launched by highways bosses while the work is carried out.

Rob Beckitt, duty operations manager at Highways England added: “We have been working hard since the hole was discovered and our contractors have now started work on the second stage of repairs after filling it with a specialist concrete mix.

“Safety is our top priority and we have to ensure the carriageway is totally safe before drivers use it.”