The next phase of a major upgrade on a vital North East route will deliver significant safety and environmental benefits.
Work on the eastern side of the A19 Downhill Lane junction marks the next phase of the £51.6m Highways England improvement that will create extra room on the junction between the A19 and the A1290 in Sunderland.
A new bridge across the A19 will join with an existing structure to form a more traditional roundabout junction, boosting connectivity with the local road network and improving journey times.
Attention now turns to the earthworks on the eastern section where the new connection to Washington Road will be.
A closure of Washington Road was always required, but by closing it sooner - and at the same time as the southbound entry slip road at Downhill Lane - Highways England said engineers can make quicker progress, weather permitting.
Highways England project manager Helen Apps said: “By taking these steps we’re able to carry out a number of improvements all at the same time, and sooner than planned.
"We’re also reducing the need for future intermittent closures, meaning there’ll be less disruption for road users.
“As well as reducing the cost of the scheme, there’s an environmental benefit as we are reusing material on the site, and our vehicles are spending less time on the road.”
The scheme supports plans for the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).
Located next to the Nissan plant, IAMP is a joint venture between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council to offer a place for advanced manufacturing and an attractive location for national and international investment. It could create as many as 7,000 jobs.
When the project started ahead of schedule earlier this year it paved the way for joint working with the major Testo’s roundabout project, which is less than one mile away and will see the A19 raised above the existing roundabout and new slip roads built to connect it to the A184.
To carry out the work as safely and quickly as possible, there will be a full closure of Washington Road for approximately 10 weeks, starting at 6am on Monday, February 1.
The length of the closure depends on the weather. Drivers can follow the clearly-signed diversion route via Ferryboat Lane and the A1231, Wessington Way. Highways England has worked closely with Sunderland City Council to plan the closure and diversion.
All Highways England sites have strict safeguarding measures, in line with Public Health England guidance, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and none of the sites are open to the public.