WORK to convert a controversial ‘throughabout’ junction into a conventional roundabout will begin later this year.

In 2017, Darlington Borough Council were accused of wasting millions of pounds after the authority revealed it planned to replace the 'throughabout' which links the Eastern Transport Corridor with Haughton Road.

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The throughabout was part of £12m scheme designed to ease congestion into Darlington town centre, but has received constant criticism from motorists since it first opened in 2008, with many saying it has increased journey times rather than reduce them.

But the council say the scheme has reduced vehicle numbers travelling through Haughton from more than 5.6m vehicles in 2007 to 3.4m in 2017.

However, they have now identified a number of ‘pinch points’ starting to materialise, including the throughabout, and will begin work on the changes in September.

The main change to the junction is the removal of traffic lights to create a conventional roundabout, whilst pedestrian and cycle crossings on the throughabout will be realigned, with new signalised crossings planned on Barton Street and Haughton Road.

Work is due to last for seven months, and the council say a traffic management plan will be put in place to minimise any disruption.

They also say they will be be in close contact with residents during the work and have written to them to explain the plans.

Council leader Heather Scott, who previously described the throughabout as an "expensive mistake", said: “We have listened to concerns about the throughabout, which have been raised by motorists and pedestrians.

“Changing this junction into a conventional roundabout will improve traffic flow and remove the potential for driver confusion.

“This scheme, which supports our ambitions to keep Darlington’s economy growing, is being jointly funded by the council, Tees Valley Combined Authority investment fund and the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund.

“The money has already funded the changes to McMullen Road roundabout on Yarm Road and is funding the ongoing construction of a new access road to Ingenium Parc.

“These changes will also support growth at Central Park, Lingfield Point, Symmetry Park and other parts of the town.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “For too long, this junction has been a pain for plenty of drivers. Thanks to Heather Scott and her team, I’m pleased that this work will start later this year with help from our investment fund.

“I’m dedicated to upgrading our road system across every borough to make travel smoother, quicker and better than ever. We recently committed more than £7m of funding to road improvements near Morton Mark and Darlington Retail Park, which are now starting to take shape.”