Posted on Wednesday 13 September 2017
Gateshead Council is advising motorists of potential delays on the A184 Felling Bypass later this year as essential repairs to the Heworth roundabout get underway.
The roundabout, which is supported by a series of bridges carrying the road over the Network Rail and Metro lines beneath, will be the focus of major repair work after structural engineers detected water seeping into the bridge structures. If left unchecked, this water could cause serious and irreparable structural damage to the bridges.
Essential repair work is therefore necessary, which will involve the complete removal of the road surface to allow the bridge decks to be waterproofed and a new road surface then applied. The work is expected to take up to six months to complete and will start later this year once the necessary approvals have been received from Network Rail to carry out works above a working rail line.
To enable the work to be completed, the A184 Felling Bypass either side of Heworth roundabout will be reduced to a single lane in each direction, although efforts will be made to retain both lanes for as long as possible. There will also be occasional full road closures at nights and at week-ends as required. Bus lanes will remain operational.
In addition, local access will be affected with the closure of the A185 Shields Road between Heworth roundabout and the Maiden Over pub, and between Heworth roundabout and Sunderland Road. These routes will be closed to all traffic except buses. Low Heworth Lane, with its access to Heworth North long stay car park, will remain open.
The council requires approval from Network Rail to undertake work over their infrastructure and a date for the start of work will be set once this approval has been received.
Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says:
“This is a major route into Tyneside and we know this is going to be unwelcome news for many commuters, but we need to act now.
“If we allow the damage being caused to these bridges under the roundabout to continue, we will have a much bigger problem to deal with in the future, and one that would take a lot longer and be more costly to put right.
“We’ve worked hard to try and minimise disruption and know this work will be especially inconvenient for residents of Pelaw and Bill Quay but there really is no good time to do this.
“Unfortunately at such an important junction major disruption is unavoidable. Our traffic modelling shows that if we allowed traffic from Pelaw and Sunderland Road across the work area it could result in even longer traffic queues.
“The area is well served by public transport and we are retaining the bus lane along the Felling bypass, so we are urging people to plan their journey and use public transport wherever possible. Metro and train services should also be unaffected by these works.”
She added: “Motorists will probably ask why we can’t wait till next summer to start the work as some people will believe that the traffic is always much heavier in the run up to Christmas, but the figures for the Felling bypass don’t really bear this out. On average, more than 42,000 cars use this route every day with very little seasonal variation so there is no apparent reason to delay as we really need to get this done to prevent further damage.”
The work has been funded by the Highways Maintenance Challenge fund which the Council received notification of in early August. The funding has allowed the Council to take advantage of the lane closures caused by the Heworth roundabout works to replace all the crash barriers and street lighting between Heworth and Whitemare Pool, thus avoiding having to impose further lane restrictions to carry out this work at a later date.
For more information view our webpage
which explains the work and provides details on how to plan your journey by public transport.