Drivers warned as fans flock to North East for Rugby World Cup

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Drivers heading to Newcastle for the Rugby World Cup are being warned to leave extra time for their journeys.

Highways England expects it will be busier than usual on the A1, the A19 and the A184 as fans travel to matches, with three games taking place at St James’ Park in the next week.

The stadium hosts South Africa vs Scotland at 4.45pm today, and will be in action again for New Zealand vs Tonga at 8pm on Friday, October 9. The final game will take place at 2.30pm on Saturday, October 10, between Samoa and Scotland.

Highways England’s regional control centre in Wakefield will be monitoring traffic, setting electronic message signs and dispatching patrols of traffic officers to respond to any incidents as quickly as possible to keep supporters and other motorway users on the move. They will also be keeping a close eye on the potential for heavy traffic before and after the game.

Emergency planning officer Hayley Robson said: “We’ve been working hard for several months with local partners and the event organisers to consider the impact of these three events on the local and regional road network.

“Work has been suspended on various routes to allow traffic to flow freely, including the A1 at Gateshead on Friday, October 9, and the resurfacing work on the A1 near Berwick on Saturday, October 10.

“We urge spectators travelling by car to plan ahead, allow extra time and follow the signs on roads in and around Newcastle.”

More than 50,000 rugby fans are expected to attend the stadium to watch today’s game while thousands more are expected to visit the city’s bars and the dedicated Fanzone at Science Central.

The site at Science Central is free to enter and the proved to be a huge success when a preview event showed the England v Wales game on a big screen last Saturday evening.

Now additional alcohol and food vans have been installed to help cater for the large crowds who are expected to visit the Fanzone today.

If the area does reach capacity then there will be a number of locations around the city that people will be able to visit to watch both the match at St James’ Park and the England v Australia match being shown at 8pm.