Works to construct a major highway improvement scheme at the A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Junction in Middlesbrough are due to start next week.
The scheme comprises the introduction of a ‘throughabout' - 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, together with the introduction of a signal controlled crossroads at the junction of Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road.
The throughabout was developed following detailed microsimulation modelling of a number of potential options designed to improve the capacity of the existing A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Lane Roundabout and, therefore, its ability to handle the predicted increase in peak period traffic movements between now and 2025.
A throughabout was found to deliver the greatest benefits of the options tested, effectively negating the impact of traffic growth over the next six years on the operation of the roundabout.
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."
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.
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.
The A66/A171 Cargo Fleet junction carries around 5,000 vehicles per hour during the morning and evening peak periods, and operates close to its practical capacity at such times.
This frequently results in delays and congestion, increasing journey times and reducing journey time reliability on two of the Borough's most important roads.
The introduction of a signalised crossroads at the Cargo Fleet Lane/South Bank Road junction will ensure that the two junctions operate together as efficiently as possible.
Just as importantly, it 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.
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, October 21 onwards, with traffic diverted via South Bank Road and Middlesbrough Road. A secondary diversion will also be signed via A1085 Longlands Road and the A172 Longlands Spur Road cater for traffic movements between Cargo Fleet Lane and the A66 (west).
Two lanes will be maintained in each direction on the A66 between 7am and 7pm Monday to Saturday inclusive throughout the works period, with a temporary 30 mph speed limit in operation to ensure the safety of road users and site operatives. Access to surrounding properties will be maintained at all times, as will pedestrian access to Cambridge Road.
Tim Nield, Construction Director of A E Yates Ltd, the scheme 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."
For more information about the scheme, visit the A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Junction improvements page