HIGHWAYS bosses have unveiled plans to solve one of the North’s most congested road junctions.
The A19 could now be rebuilt to pass under the Silverlink roundabout in North Tyneside following years of complaints from motorists fed up with gridlocked roads.
Proposals from the Highways Agency look at three options. Their preferred option would see the construction of two bridges to carry the roundabout over the lowered A19. A replacement bridge would also be built to support the A1058 Coast Road across the junction and access to the A19 would then come from slip roads.
Other more expensive proposals include building a tunnel under the Coast Road for the A19 or creating an A19 flyover.
Last night there were concerns the roadworks would only move the problem from the Silverlink junction to other roundabouts on the A19.
The upgrade comes after repeated calls for investment led by former North Tyneside mayor John Harrison. He told highways bosses they could cripple Tyneside’s economy if they did not act to free up traffic on the A19.
North Tyneside elected mayor Linda Arkley, who took over from Mr Harrison in June, said the move would go a long to easing gridlock fears.
“I am delighted the Highways Agency has brought forward proposals to address the inadequacy of the Silverlink junction,” she said.
“It is imperative for the whole region that we have a new junction in place as soon as possible. A high quality road network is imperative if we are going to attract new investment and jobs to the North East.”
But the proposals fall short of a full upgrade of A19 roundabouts which business leaders have called for.
Ross Smith, head of policy for the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great to see progress being made on this much needed project. We would prefer an option that causes the least possible disruption during construction, but each of these will make a vital improvement to a key strategic route.
“However, the adjacent junctions at Moor Farm and Seaton Burn also need upgrading in order to gain the full benefit of the new Tyne Tunnel.”
North Tyneside Council will put the Silverlink plans on display at Cobalt Business Exchange (the former Atmel building), Cobalt Business Park on November 27 between 2pm and 8pm and November 28 between 10am and 4pm.
Building work would start in December 2014 if funding is secured.