FUNDING of £780,000 has been announced to draw up plans for major improvements to the A689 between Wynyard and Hartlepool.

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority will use the sum to develop a business plan and design that will create the planning case for a scheme to increase capacity and reduce congestion.

While the design work is at an early stage, the funding could be used to undertake a number of junction improvements along the A689 in the Wynyard area, capacity improvement on the A19/A689 interchange, pedestrian and cycle bridge crossings of the A19, wider cycle and pedestrian connectivity, a series of improvements at strategic points west of the A19 into the centre of Hartlepool such as Wolviston services and the petrol station at Morrisons.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Improving the A689 is hugely important to the people of Hartlepool and Stockton. Just last month I committed £5m for a new pedestrian bridge across the A689 as well as improvements to the A19/A689 Meadows roundabout.

“This cash will allow us to improve our road infrastructure around Stockton and Hartlepool even further. Local people want to see improvements to the road network, reduced congestion and improve public transport and walking and cycling routes, and this cash will allow us to do just that.”

Councillor Heather Scott, transport lead for the Combined Authority, said: “This is yet another fantastic investment to help develop the improvements that the people of Tees Valley need and deserve. We are creating jobs, opportunities and new homes across the region but people need to be able to access them. Transformational improvements to the road network are critical and this funding will help alleviate the existing frustrating congestion issues along these routes.”