First traffic passes over new stretch of A19 as huge £124.5 million flyover opens after 27 months of work at Testo's Roundabout
This was the scene this morning as a new section of the A19 finally opened to traffic after more than two years of construction work.
The new structure means traffic can continue on the route without the need to negotiate the junction at Boldon, with new sliproads to allow vehicles on and off the A184 Newcastle Road.
Work began on the £124.5 million project in March 2019 and has led to a lengthy series of diversions and restrictions as the work to install the 142-metre 1,392 tonne bridge was carried out.
A series of closures were in place throughout the weekend to help with the final preparations ahead of today’s launch, with further restrictions to be confirmed in the weeks ahead to allow the final sections of work to be completed.
Highways England has said this will mean some further closures and diversions to help keep workers safe, with the scheme’s leaders thanking people for their patience as they work to reach the end of the project.
The scheme, alongside improvements under way at Downhill Lane, will help make journeys safer and tackle congestion, with an estimated 83,400 vehicles are predicted to use the route every day by 2033.
It will also increase capacity for traffic as the International Advance Manufacturing Park (IAMP) is built next to the Nissan car plant.
Ahead of the launch, Highways England project manager Liam Quirk said: “There is still a fair bit of work to be done before we can completely open to traffic but we are delighted that people wishing to continue travel on the A19 can now do so without having to use the roundabout.
"I’d like to thank the public for their ongoing patience and support.
“We’re almost at the end of the road when it comes to being fully complete on the roundabout upgrade, so I’d urge drivers to be patient with us for a little bit longer because we do have some closures and diversions in place for a few more weeks as we reach the finish line.”
For more information about the scheme follow @HighwaysNEAST on Twitter and visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/our-work/yorkshire-and-north-east/a19-testo-s-junction/.