End in sight for Lindisfarne roadworks - but more to come at Tyne Tunnel

Work on the Lindisfarne junction
Work on the Lindisfarne junction

Months of work on one of South Tyneside's busiest roads comes to an end this week.

The £7.5million Lindisfarne junction project, which started a year ago, will finish on schedule and on budget.

The Tyne Tunnel

The Tyne Tunnel

The scheme has involved widening both Lindisfarne and John Reid Road roundabouts and most of the dual carriageway in between from two to three lanes in both directions with the aim of reducing accidents, easing congestion and improving traffic flow in the area.

The project also included the installation of a large underground tank to alleviate the risk of flooding.

Coun Allan West, South Tyneside Council's Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "We’re very pleased with how the project has gone and that we are finishing on schedule.

"We, together with our contractors GallifordTry, have tried hard to ensure that there has been minimal disruption to residents and motorists and we thank everyone for their patience over the last year.

"Now people will be able to start reaping the benefits of the work that has been done."

Signals at the John Reid Road roundabout will come back into operation and will be linked to lights on the Lindisfarne roundabout, as well as a newly-installed toucan crossing between the two roundabouts to ensure efficiency.

The lights are designed to give fair access to all road users and the signal timings will be based on extensive traffic surveys to minimise delay.

Vehicles except buses will no longer be able to exit the Scotch Estate via Edinburgh road. The camera-enforced no exit has been introduced to improve safety and maximise traffic flow on the widened carriageway.

The scheme has also incorporated a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph on the eastbound approach to Lindisfarne to enhance safety on the route.

Coun West added: "We’ve received feedback from several motorists to say that the current temporary arrangements – with the John Reid Road lights switched off – are working well.

"However, the current situation doesn’t give a true picture for a variety of reasons, including that some road users have been using alternative routes during the works.

"Once complete, the junctions will become much busier once more and it will be then that the various crossing facilities for pedestrians, and traffic lights giving priority to side and slip roads, will be required.

"Without the lights, the A194 would dominate traffic flow, making it extremely difficult to get out of the Low Simonside estate or side roads, and that compromises safety."

In peak periods of traffic flow, the signals will help balance queues and increase overall throughput at the roundabout. Signal timings will adapt to on-street traffic conditions as much as possible to minimise any delay.

Bob Gibbon, Managing Director of Galliford Try's Highways business, said: "We're proud of the way our teams have worked together to complete the scheme on schedule, within budget and to the high standards required.

"The Lindisfarne Project has been a worthy successor to our award winning coastal defence project at Littlehaven beach in South Shields. We hope for further opportunities to continue our relationship with South Tyneside Council and improve its assets."

Lindisfarne was the first of a wider programme of strategic transport investment projects that are proposed to help reduce congestion, reinforce the economic potential of the A19 corridor and establish a strategic gateway into South Tyneside.

The project received £6.1million from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the North East Growth Deal from Government. The Local Growth Fund is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.

The next scheme, at the Arches roundabout, secured planning permission last month and, subject to confirmation of Local Growth Fund funding, work is due to start on site this autumn.

*The Lindisfarne roadworks may be about to finish , but it won't be all plain sailing for motorists on South Tyneside this summer, with highways improvement works on and around the Tyne Tunnel approach due to get under way next week.

The two-phased project will replace worn out surfacing, as well as improving safety and vehicle capacity on the A185 corridor.

South Tyneside Council is advising motorists that the scheme will involve road closures in order to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible.

The first phase, which is scheduled to start on Monday, July 24, involves resurfacing the A185 Jarrow Road from the southern Tyne Tunnel portal to Jarrow Slake (Pilgrim’s Way) and improvements to the junction of the A185 and Church Bank.

The works will take around two weeks to complete, during which 24-hour week-day road closures will be in place. No closures will be in place at weekends. Diversion routes will be in place as required with the main diversion route being via the Lindisfarne Junction when leaving or joining the A19.

The second phase, which is due to start on August 21 and last around a week, will involve improvements on the A185/Howard Street approach to the Tyne Tunnel. This will require road closures but it is planned that these will be overnight only.

Access to the Bede Industrial Estate will be maintained at all times from the A194 Arches approach.

Coun West said: "The resurfacing works are necessary as the current surface is reaching the end of its effective life and is starting to fail in places.

"As well as replacing the surfacing, the other aims of this scheme are to improve safety around Church Bank and to increase vehicle capacity on the Tyne Tunnel approach, which as anyone who uses this route regularly will know, can be something of a bottle neck.

"Road closures mean the works can be completed as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible and we thank motorists in advance for their patience."