Drivers advised to allow more time to travel as contraflow installed on A1 near Gateshead

Work near Gateshead to improve safety and reduce congestion is moving forward
Work near Gateshead to improve safety and reduce congestion is moving forward -Credit:handout

Motorists are being urged to allow more time to travel on the A1 in Tyne and Wear as work to improve safety and reduce congestion moves forward.

This week, a contraflow is being installed on the A1 between junctions 65 (Birtley) and 66 (Eighton Lodge) and will be in place from Saturday. Northbound traffic will be moved onto the southbound carriageway. The number of lanes will remain the same, with no reduction in capacity.

The contraflow is part of the ongoing A1 Birtley to Coal House scheme to reduce congestion, make the road safer and support the regional economy.

National Highways project manager Helen Burrow said: “We’ve been working on the three bridges at junction 66 and have now constructed the new lanes on the southbound carriageway, ready for the contraflow. Traffic will be moved over from junction 65 until after junction 66, where it will return to the northbound carriageway before travelling over Allerdene Bridge.

“We’re constructing new lanes and widening the three bridges at Eighton Lodge, as well as carrying out repairs to these structures. The contraflow will keep drivers and the workforce safe and allows us to work on all three bridges at the same time.

“Overall, the Birtley to Coal House scheme is still making good progress. Once again, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the public for their patience while we’ve been carrying out this transformative upgrade.”

The Birtley to Coal House scheme involves widening of the A1 south of Gateshead to four lanes, between junction 65 and 67 on the southbound carriageway and three lanes with lane gain between junctions on the northbound carriageway to provide additional capacity.

The scheme has taken a number of key steps over recent months, with the installation of the North Dene footbridge, improving journeys for pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is expected to open later this year. In October, traffic began travelling over the new Allerdene bridge.

The contraflow is due in place until late summer. Drivers heading north and wanting to exit for Junction 66 Eighton Lodge, for Low Fell, Birtley (A167) north and south and Wrekenton B1295, should use the dedicated lane from junction 65, which will be clearly signed.