Transport Minister Baroness Vere announced that upgrade work worth £51million at the Downhill Lane junction, close to Nissan, is starting ahead of schedule as part of the Government’s commitment to leveling up Northern transport infrastructure.
Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said: “The A19 Downhill Lane project is one of the schemes highlighted in our Investment Programme, and we reiterated the need for early delivery of this and other road schemes this summer, so it is good to see investment coming forward and work getting underway.
“It is promising to see the Government listening to Transport for the North and our region’s business and political leaders and unlocking investment in these vital transport infrastructure projects.”
The upgrade work will increase the capacity of the junction between the A19 and A1290 Downhill Lane in Sunderland and Boldon, supporting plans for the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) to the north of the Nissan plant.
As well as construction of the new bridge to the south of the existing A1290 bridge across the A19 between Sunderland and Boldon and the Nissan plant, new slip roads will connect to the A19 in both directions, while link roads will tie into the A19/A184 Testo’s Junction.
Work is already underway there to create a flyover above the existing roundabout, allowing A19 traffic to pass through the junction without stopping.
The total cost for the Testo’s and Downhill scheme has been estimated at around £150million.
The Downhill application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration by Highways England in January last year and accepted for examination the next month.
Following a consultation period, in which the public, statutory consultees and interested parties were able to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State in April.
Plans were given the go ahead in July.
Baroness Vere added: “I am delighted work has started early on this important road upgrade for the North East; it’s another example of our commitment to levelling up Northern transport infrastructure and to bringing projects forward where we can.”