Work to create the North East’s first triple-decker roundabout has reached a major milestone, nearly a year since the scheme started.
Over the next few days, drivers and residents will see a 400-tonne crane on the site where the A19 meets the A1058 Coast Road in North Tyneside. The crane will be lifting 55 huge concrete reinforced beams into place which will form the base of the new bridges.
Three bridges are being put in place, one to support the A1058 Coast Road over the Coast Road roundabout and two to carry the Coast Road roundabout over the newly lowered A19. This will create the third layer of the junction and will mean drivers will be able to continue straight along the A19 underneath the roundabout.
These 55 beams have been transported from West Mead in Ireland and weigh 35 tonnes each at a length of 22 metres. Of these beams, 22 have already been put in place on the north bridge of the roundabout. Timelapse footage of these being lifted into place can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/222196790/835c869794
Highways England assistant project manager Steven Cox said: “This is an exciting milestone because once these bridges are in place we will be able to start creating the underpass which is what will take the most time as we need to remove 80,000 cubic metres of earth.
“It’s great that we have managed to hit this major milestone nearly a year since we started construction. Over the last 12 months, we have worked 285,000 hours up to the end of June with an average of 120 people on site every day.
“During that time, we have installed a retaining wall on the A19 southbound approach to Silverlink roundabout, which enabled the construction of the Silverlink Point retail development. The roundabout has been altered and the A1058 has been moved into a contraflow on the westbound carriageway so work could start on putting in the supports for the bridges.”
Work has also been carried out at Middle Engine Lane. Over the last few months, piling work has been completed which will form the foundation of the new bridge carrying the A19. The new bridge will be widened to support the A19 and new southbound exit slip road and this will be completed in the next few months.
As part of the scheme, improvements will be carried out to 1,175 metres of cycleway and an extra 247 metres will be created. The scheme employs six graduate or apprentices and 60% of its workforce is from the North East.
When finished, the £75million Highways England scheme will reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability for the thousands of drivers who use it every day.