This section of A1 carries in excess of 116,000 vehicles a day, more than double its original capacity. Consequently, heavy congestion occurred daily in both directions for most of the day, also the accident rate was double the national average.
Prior to the works this section was the third most congested link on the national trunk road network and the most congested regional trunk road link in terms of delay. This manifested itself as stationary or slow moving traffic into and out of Gateshead and Newcastle, resulting in long delays and slower journey times.
Solving this problem supports the Department for Transport’s Business Plan Coalition Priority “to invest in the strategic road network to promote growth and address congestion that affects people and businesses and continue to improve road safety”.
Key elements of the scheme include:
- Increasing capacity to 3 lanes in both directions on the mainline
- Significant modifications to existing drainage and sewer networks
- Installation of new road lighting, gantries, variable message signs and CCTV
- Enhanced vehicle restraint system throughout the scheme, including concrete barrier in central reserve and other locations
Challenges presented by the works included:
- Ensuring works remained within the existing land boundary to avoid delays through acquiring land
- Significant traffic management to maintain two lane running in daytime construction
- Retaining existing structures
- Fast Track’ delivery of early activities to achieve committed site commencement date
- Uncertainty of extent of abandoned shallow mine works
- Minimising disruption and disturbance to residents, commuters and businesses