Coast Road closures announced to start next phase of realignment scheme

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The project to move the road have been in place since last November.

A project which has seen part of a major North East road moved over 20 metres inland has reached its final stages.

The A183 Coast Road, between Marsden Lime Kilns and the holiday park near the Marsden Grotto inland and away from the clifftops, has been the main part of a project which has seen the road move since last November to combat coastal erosion in the North East.

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A study carried out in 2019 highlighted that parts of the route in South Shields would be compromised in the future, because of ongoing erosion of the cliff face, including the formation of caves.

Part of the Coast Road between Sunderland and South Shields will be closed later this month. Picture by Ian McClelland https://ianmccllndphoto.mypixieset.com/Part of the Coast Road between Sunderland and South Shields will be closed later this month. Picture by Ian McClelland https://ianmccllndphoto.mypixieset.com/
Part of the Coast Road between Sunderland and South Shields will be closed later this month. Picture by Ian McClelland https://ianmccllndphoto.mypixieset.com/

The ongoing scheme is moving the road inland by up to 24m, which is expected to extend its lifespan by around 50 years. A longer-term option will be explored once the new road is in place.

The road has remained open while the work has been carried out, however some overnight closures will be required in the coming weeks to allow resurfacing as the scheme nears completion.

The closures will be in place from 10pm to 6am for six nights from Monday, July 24. The council has said diversions will be in place and fully signed.

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In addition to resurfacing, localised repairs to the existing drainage system will be carried out and landscaping will be completed.

Councillor Margaret Meling, Lead Member for Economic Growth and Transport, said: “Good progress has been made on the scheme and we’re now into the final phase.

“The new section of road is now in place and traffic has been diverted on to it to allow the old road to be removed and for new kerbs and surfacing to be completed.

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“This project is the culmination of years of careful planning, with careful consideration given to the area’s natural and historical features.

“The realignment of the road to bring it further inland was essential for public safety, and will mean that this popular route is protected for several decades to come."

The project has been criticised by other councillors with Councillor Eileen Leask, Horsley Hill ward member, telling the Sunderland Echo earlier this year how she was a “little doubtful” about this estimate as the “sea has a way of getting under things”.

Councillor Joyce Welsh, ward member for Whitburn and Marsden, said while contractors were “doing a brilliant job” she remained sceptical about the lifespan of the route to the Echo in March.

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She said: “I’ve lived in Whitburn all my life, I’ve swum in the sea, I’ve played in the rock pools and scrambled round those cliffs.

“Over the years I’ve actually seen a lot of terrible things happening to those cliffs, the sea is getting bigger if you like and we’re losing a lot of the ice caps”.

The councillor added: “I think you might find you might have to reduce [the lifespan estimate] from 50 years, I really do.