THE next phase of roadworks at retail area near Durham starts next week.

Last September, Durham County Council began altering the road layout in Dragonville, near Gilesgate, to provide access to new retail facilities and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.

On Monday, work starts to create a new signalised junction linking Damson Way to the A181 Sherburn Road, which should be completed in the spring.

Temporary traffic lights will be installed to ensure the safety of road users and staff working on the site and any closures required will be advertised in advance.

In recent years, Dragonville has seen a range of new developments including the Durham City Retail Park, which has meant there has been an increase in the number of vehicles using the A181, Dragon Lane and Sunderland Road.

In a bid to reduce congestion caused by the increased traffic, a continuous link between Renny’s Lane and the A181 will be created. The route will follow the line of Damson Way with a new link road being built to connect to Renny’s Lane in the north and a new junction between Damson Way and the A181 Sherburn Road to the south.

Work on the link road is well underway, with new utilities installed and foundations laid for the road and footpaths. As this has taken place off the main road network, there has been minimal impact on the surrounding highways.

Councillor Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration at Durham County Council, said: “This scheme will deliver real benefits to what has become a thriving part of County Durham, and I am delighted to see so much progress has been made.

“More than 3,000 people work in the Dragonville area and this number is likely to grow as more businesses invest in the area.

“This work will ease congestion and delays on the highway network, as well as enhancing air quality and providing better facilities for more sustainable travel options, such as walking and cycling.”

Dave Wafer, strategic traffic manager at Durham County Council, said: “We will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum during the works and would like to thank members of the public for their patience.”