Tees Valley Combined Authority has announced further details of plans for new routes to cross the River Tees.
As a result of thorough investigations looking at 14 options, two complementary routes have been identified to take forward to the next stage of development.
The first is a Central Tees Crossing route to reduce congestion on the A19, crossing parallel to the existing flyover, with significant improvements to the Portrack Interchange maintaining three full lanes from Wynyard to A66.
The second is an Eastern Tees Crossing route to unite industrial sites on the north and south bank of the river, aimed at strengthening the attractiveness of those sites, and expanding the catchment area for new jobs.
Commenting on the proposals, councillor Bill Dixon, chair of the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s transport committee, said: “For too long commuters have faced frustrating delays to cross the River Tees, creating additional costs to the Tees Valley’s economy and limiting our growth potential. We are determined to take action, and put forward a compelling business case for national investment.
“These two complementary proposals would have a positive double impact on our local economy - alleviating congestion, and expanding new job opportunities on our industrial sites. They demonstrate the value of our combined authority’s commitment to grow our future economy, and I urge the government to consider these for priority investment.”
Studies have been undertaken on 14 options for different routes, funded by resources devolved to the combined authority. In the last Autumn Statement, the proposals put forward by the Tees Valley combined authority were among a small number of projects securing further government support for consideration in the national road programme. The next stage of development work on the Central Tees Crossing proposal will be funded by the DfT’s Large Local Majors Fund, placing the proposal in a strong position to receive national roads funding to meet the £270m costs. Further work to develop the Eastern Tees Crossing proposal will be funded by the combined authority, with a view to establishing a future bid for national funding for the route.
The A19 is a critical part of the national strategic roads network. It carries 96,000 vehicles a day at the point it crosses the River Tees, compared to 43,000 carried by the A1(M) at the same point, emphasising its critical importance to the Tees Valley economy. It is frequently disrupted by congestion and delays, creating significant costs to the local and national economy.
The north and south banks of the River Tees are home to one of the UK’s largest industrial clusters, which is seen as critical to the success of the UK’s industrial strategy. Joining up sites through better transport connections could open up a wider catchment area for good quality well paid jobs, and make the Tees Valley even more attractive to international investors, say the combined authority.
The proposal will be discussed by the combined authority’s transport committee on 22 March, with further work leading to a report to the Tees Valley mayor and cabinet in autumn 2017.