WORK to improve three busy road junctions and ease traffic congestion in Chester-le-Street begins this weekend.

Park Road North and Blind Lane will both be closed in one direction from tomorrow (Saturday, July 19) as part of the £1.5m revamp of the Northlands roundabout, which will see Durham County Council install traffic signals at the junction of the A167 Newcastle Road and the A693 linking Stanley to the A1(M) motorway.

The improvements are designed to reduce congestion, provide much-needed pedestrian and cycling facilities, and ease delays to buses.

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Officials hope that removing bottlenecks on these important commuter and bus routes will help the local economy.

Motorists could face disruption during the work. Blind Lane will be closed eastbound at the Northlands roundabout for about three weeks, with traffic diverted onto Park Road North and the A167.

Park Road North will be closed northbound at the roundabout for six weeks, with diversions on the A167 and Blind Lane.

Blind Lane will reopen to two-way traffic when it is considered safe and Park Road North will reopen using the new junction, which will be clearly signed, once the work has been completed.

This final stage of the Northlands scheme has been timed to coincide with the school summer holidays to minimise disruption.

The work is expected to be completed in early September when the new traffic lights will start to operate.

A further £3.1m will be invested in improvements to the Blind Lane junction with the A1(M) and the roundabout at Picktree Lane thanks to £2.2m of funding from the Government’s Local Pinch Point Fund. The work will get underway on August 4 and continue until March.

The council’s head of transport and contract services, Adrian White, said: “The significant investment in the Northlands roundabout traffic signals scheme at Chester-le-Street is vital in helping reduce congestion for motorists and bus passengers in this busy commuter town.

“This, together with planned improved links between Blind Lane and the motorway and the Picktree Lane roundabout scheme, will make sure that the council can effectively tackle the ongoing problems around congestion while providing the opportunity for economic growth in the area.

“While we appreciate the scheme may cause some disruption we would like to thank motorists for their patience while this important work is carried out.”