MOTORISTS are being warned of potential delays as work is carried out to improve three junctions to ease congestion around a north Durham market down.
Highways chiefs say the improvements to the road layout will not only relieve existing congestion, but provide a boost to the local economy as potential bottlenecks are removed on important commuter and bus routes around Chester-le-Street.
Work is set to begin on Monday, January 6 at the first of three junctions within the town, which sees the start of a significant investment in tackling congestion next to the A1(M).
The first phase will see almost £1.5m invested into new signals at the Northlands roundabout at the intersection of the A167 Newcastle Road and the A693, which links Stanley to the motorway.
The improvements will also provide much-needed pedestrian and cycle facilities while helping to reduce delays for buses.
A further £3.1m will also be invested to improve the adjacent junctions with the A1(M) motorway at the Blind Lane junction and the roundabout at Picktree Lane.
The Government will provide £2.2m of funding to this element of the works from the Local Pinch Point Fund.
Durham county councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We’re delighted that these works are now commencing and look forward to delivering improvements which will make life easier for motorists and pedestrians alike, as well as helping to boost the local economy.
“Motorists and those living within the town can be assured that we will try very hard to keep disruption and delay to a minimum.”
Lane restrictions will be in place from next week to allow the different utility companies to carry out their necessary work.
The different companies will be allotted a time slot to allow them to each take their turn in what is a very confined space.
A Durham County Council spokesman said: “Although this will extend the overall duration of the construction phase, it is essential as it allows the council to better manage the day-to-day disruption to motorists and residents alike.
“The actual construction of the new junction will then commence in April with work expected to last at least five months as traffic lights are installed.”
Work at the Blind Lane and Picktree Roundabout junctions will commence in the summer months, taking place until March 2015.