Proposals move forward for key road junction

Work could start next year on improving one of the busiest road junctions in the borough.

Officials at the Highways Agency have moved a step closer to restructuring the A19 Silverlink junction with the A1058 Coast Road.

The interchange is one of the busiest in the region with an estimated 50,000 motorists using it every day.

Plans have been drawn up to lower the A19 under the Coast Road in a £140m scheme.

Now the agency has submitted an application for a development consent order to the National Planning Inspectorate, while also submitting plans with North Tyneside Council.

If approved, work would start in spring 2016 to create a three-tier junction, with a free-flowing north-south link.

The scheme would see the construction of two new bridges to carry roundabout traffic over the A19, new slip roads, a new bridge to carry the Coast Road over the A19, two new bridges for cyclists and pedestrians, and the widening of the Middle Engine Railway Bridge.

The closing date for applications is January 23, and if all deadlines are hit, the scheme could be completed by 2018 – but only if the funding is given the green light in the next government Spending Review.

A report submitted to the council said: “Existing problems at the junction include severe congestion during peak hours, congestion at weekends associated with the Silverlink Retail Park, and accident rates higher than the national average – and without the improvement, congestion and delays would increase.”

It added that during construction work, two lanes of traffic in each direction will be open on both the A19 and Coast Road during peak times.

Several consultation events have taken place over the last four years, helping to draw up the latest proposals.

And again residents are being given a chance to have their say on the plans as part of the application process.

Last year, cabinet members at North Tyneside Council gave their support to the planned improvements to the junction.

They are keen to see the work go ahead as it would help boost the local economy while also reduce rush-hour congestion.

Speaking at the time, Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “The scheme to improve this junction is very much needed and long overdue.

“It is an exceptionally busy roundabout and at peak times drivers often endure bottlenecks.

“These works would make a huge difference not only to residents of North Tyneside but also to the whole of Tyne and Wear as it would keep traffic moving on the A19 and A1.

“Upgrading this junction will reduce congestion, improve road safety and bring about our main aim, to attract more investment and more jobs to our area.”

For more information about the plans, search the North Tyneside Council planning website for application 14/01939/DCO.

The plans are also on the Highway Agency website.