War history played a vital role in work on new Silverlink junction

An example of what a typical unexploded bomb would have looked like.
An example of what a typical unexploded bomb would have looked like.

Construction staff working on the region’s first triple-decker roundabout made an explosive discovery after going back to the classroom.

Highways experts had to delve into the history books as part of the £75million scheme to improve the A19/Coast Road Silverlink junction – due for completion next Spring – by adding an extra layer to the junction.

But before starting work, engineers had to check out the region’s war history for any unexploded bombs.

Highways England’s project manager Julie Alexander said: “Safety is our number one priority and so before we start any project we have to carry out various vital types of work to ensure the ultimate improvement will be safe for everyone using it.

“Our work on the A19 involved detailed investigation into the bomb activity on the site. This showed that two high explosive bombs fell in the middle of the site during a raid on 30 April 1942 when six were dropped by a single aircraft.

“Thankfully no unexploded bombs remained on site so we could proceed.”

During the Second World War there were 250 air raid alerts in the region, with the first bombs falling in July 1940.

The heaviest raids took place in 1941 and 1942.

In Tynemouth there were 31 air raids which destroyed 447 houses with a further 1,659 properties damaged.

Records show two high explosive bombs fell on the central part of the A19 Coast Road site but both are recorded as having exploded.

Back in August, 80,000 cubic metres of soil were removed, enough to fill 32 Olympic sized swimming pools.

There are just four months left on the £75m scheme with improvements to the 1,175 metres of cycleway and an extra 247 metres will be created, gantries to be installed and the roundabout completely resurfaced left to complete.

The new road which will reduce congestion, improve journey time reliability for the 35,400 vehicles expected to use it on average a day and expected to improve safety and reduce collisions.