A66 'throughabout' roadworks: Here's everything you need to know as 6 months of delays set to begin

A66 'throughabout' roadworks: Here's everything you need to know as 6 months of delays set to begin

The £4.4m scheme should make it faster to get down the A66 but there'll be short term pain for the long term gain

It's the £4.4m scheme that's hoped to ease congestion on one of Teesside's busiest and most important routes.

But for many drivers, it's a six-month headache that will mean delays and traffic jams.

Middlesbrough Council is set to start work to construct a 'throughabout' on the A66 at its junction with Cargo Fleet Lane, in Middlesbrough.

Part of Cargo Fleet Lane will be closed from Monday, October 21 and drivers are being warned to expect delays.

Here's everything you need to know.

 

What's the problem?

The current large roundabout has partial traffic lights, and is close to a smaller, unsignalised roundabout at the junction of Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road.

The A66/A171 junction currently carries around 5,000 vehicles per hour during the morning and evening peak periods - close to its practical capacity.

The A66 is the busiest east-west route in Middlesbrough, carrying between 50,000 and 90,000 vehicles on a typical weekday, over 10% of which are HGVs.

 
Middlesbrough Council artist impression of a 'throughabout' planned for the A66 junction with Cargo Fleet Lane

As well as serving the town centre, the A66 plays a key strategic role in connecting the A19 and A1(M) Trunk Roads to the west with Teesport and the South Tees Development Corporation site to the east.

A171 Cargo Fleet Lane is one of the Borough's busiest north-south routes, serving east Middlesbrough and linking the town centre with Guisborough, Whitby and Scarborough.

Delays and congestion at the junction increase journey times and reduce reliability on two of Middlesbrough’s most strategically important roads.

 

So what's the plan?

A ‘throughabout' will be introduced - a signalised roundabout with two lanes of traffic in each direction running through the middle of it - at the A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Lane junction.

A signal-controlled crossroads at the junction of Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road will also be installed.

The council says it developed the plans following detailed modelling, which showed it was the best option to handle the predicted increase in peak traffic between now and 2025.

 

Just as importantly, says the council, the works will allow signal-controlled pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities to be introduced, providing a safe and direct route for users of Route 1 of the National Cycle Network - which runs along South Bank Road - and, by doing so, improving cycle connectivity between Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

The scheme is estimated to cost £4.425m.  £2.95m has been secured from the Department for Transport, with a further £1.013 million from the Tees Valley Combined Authority. 

The remaining £462,000 will be met by Middlesbrough Council, funded from its Local Transport Capital Programme.

‘Blaze’ – the artwork in the centre of the A66/Cargo Fleet Lane roundabout – will be removed as part of the scheme and held in storage in the short term, with a view to reinstalling it elsewhere in the borough as and when a suitable location can be found.

The authority defended its plans shortly after its announcement in 2017 - when Darlington Council decided to scrap its own £12m 'throughabout', which it admitted had increased journey times rather than reduce them.

How will the roadworks affect traffic?

Works will commence on Monday, October 21, with completion programmed for late spring 2020.

The section of Cargo Fleet Lane between the A66 and South Bank Road will be closed from Monday onwards, with traffic diverted via South Bank Road and Middlesbrough Road.

 
A map showing the diversion routes

A secondary diversion will also be in place which will go via the A1085 Longlands Road/Trunk Road and the A172 from Longlands roundabout.

Two lanes will be maintained in each direction on the A66 between 7am and 7pm, from Monday to Saturday, throughout the works period.

A temporary 30 mph speed limit will be in operation to ensure the safety of those working on site.

Access to surrounding properties will be maintained at all times, as will pedestrian access to Cambridge Road - the entrance to McDonald's, a BP petrol station and Boro Taxis depot.

'Allow more time for journeys'

Middlesbrough Council's executive member for regeneration, Councillor Ashley Waters, said: "I am pleased to confirm the start date for this important scheme, which will tackle delays and congestion at the junction of two of the borough's busiest roads and facilitate future economic growth not just in Middlesbrough but across the wider Tees Valley as well."

"Every effort will be made to minimise disruption to the travelling public whilst works are underway.

"However, given the scale of the scheme and the high volume of traffic that uses the junction on a daily basis, delays on the surrounding road network are inevitable, particularly during the first few days as drivers adjust their travel patterns. I would, therefore, ask drivers to allow additional time for their journey, and to exercise caution when passing the works area."

Tim Nield, construction director of A E Yates Ltd, the site contractor, said: "We are very pleased to be working for the people of Middlesbrough and we will do our very best to minimise disruption to the local area and travelling public, during the course of the works."

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