CONTRACTORS were on standby today to begin resurfacing a section of road closed following a waste spillage for the last week.

Weather permitting, it could allow the eastbound section of the A1231, off the A1(M), near the Mill House roundabout in Washington, to reopen by Monday.

Skid resistance tests carried out yesterday found that sections of the road surface are still unsafe following the lorry spillage, last Thursday.

These showed that despite efforts to remove the slippery, but non-hazardous substance, a by-product of the leather tanning process, the majority of the affected road remains below the level required for it to re-open safely.

The road has been closed eastbound between the Mill House roundabout and the A182 Washington Highway since a lorry spilled some of its two-tonne load on parts of the eastbound carriageway.

Due to the nature and quantity of the material, plus the extent and complexity of the recovery operation, specialist contractors were brought in by the company which owns the lorry to begin the clean-up operation.

Despite their efforts over recent days, yesterday’s tests confirmed they did not have sufficient impact to allow the road to re-open without risk to users.

Councillor Amy Wilson, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “The condition of the road surface has improved, but not to a point where it is safe to re-open the road, particularly given that it is a high-speed road.

“This is a critical link in the road network and its closure is causing major inconvenience to the 17,000 people a day who use it, not to mention the knock-on impact on all the other roads that it links to.

“We simply can’t afford to have it closed going into next week.

“That is why we have taken the decision as the local highway authority that the only realistic way of getting the road reopened quickly is by resurfacing the sections which are still below the necessary safety levels.

“Public safety is paramount and we have to be sure that the road is safe before it can re-open.”

Highway engineers estimate in total, around 10,000 square metres of road will need to be resurfaced.

It includes approximately 900 metres of the dual carriageway, a 300-metre section of the off-slip road, plus some additional adjoining areas.

The council has stated it will be seeking full recovery of the costs incurred.