A flyover has been built above the existing Testo’s roundabout and new slip roads have been created to connect Testo’s roundabout to the A184.
The finished scheme comes just a week after Nissan announced a major expansion of battery production in the region creating thousands of new jobs both directly and in the supply chain.
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An estimated 83,400 vehicles are predicted to use the route every day by 2033.
Highways England acting chief executive, Nick Harris, said: “This opening is an important milestone in the substantial investment being made in the North East’s major A roads.
“These improvements will make a major contribution to the region, from providing better journeys to and from the region’s ports and Teesside airport, to improving journey times for local people who can get home more quickly and safely to their families or to and from their workplace.
“Our roads are not only the lifeblood of our economy, they support local as well as national businesses, and are vital to enable our emergency services to support local communities.”
New link roads are also being built between the Downhill Lane and Testo’s and are expected to be completed by summer 2022.
The Testo’s upgrade will give drivers better access to the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) development and Nissan plant in Sunderland.
Nissan, who’s new electric Leaf model is being built at the nearby Sunderland plant, has recently announced a major expansion of battery production in the region creating thousands of new jobs both directly and in the supply chain.
Alan Johnson, Vice President of Manufacturing at Nissan, UK said: "The region’s excellent transport links were one of the main reasons Nissan took the decision, more than 40 years ago, to locate our plant in Sunderland.
"Since then thousands of our staff, as well as millions of our cars, have travelled around the Testo’s roundabout.
“The new flyover will provide a tremendous upgrade and we’re delighted that the 100% electric Nissan Leaf was the first car to officially drive over the new bridge.”
It comes as part of the Government’s drive to build back better from the pandemic and level up regions across the country.
Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, Baroness Vere of Norbiton said: “The £130million Testo’s junction upgrade will be hugely beneficial to the North East, providing swifter, more reliable free-flowing journeys and supporting economic growth in the region.
“As we build back better from the pandemic, this Government will continue to invest billions of pounds to improve infrastructure, boost connections, and level-up regions right across the country.”
Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said: “The upgraded junction will provide extra capacity to help increase resilience, and also bring safety improvements and a better integrated local road network. It will also boost the development of the International Advance Manufacturing Park, supporting jobs and investment in the area.
“Improving vital strategic roads like the A19 is essential to support the local and regional economy, giving people and businesses the reliable roads they need."