TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has brought forward plans to build a new road between Marston Road and the A1032 Newport Bridge Approach Road, with £11.5million in critical funding.

Mr Houchen said the new 1.3km road, which will follow the route of the former Billingham Beck branch railway, is not only essential for reducing congestion on the A19, but is also key for delivering the new Tees Crossing.

The Funding commitment comes on top of £24million committed towards the £400million cost of the new Tees Crossing, which Mr Houchen has urged the government to back and fund as soon as possible.

Should Mr Houchen’s plan be agreed at Cabinet then it is expected the new road will be completed by the end of 2023.

The plan for a new Tees Crossing includes a new two-lane northern viaduct, an extra southbound lane and a widening of the A66 between Teesside Park and the viaduct.

The ambitious transformational project will reduce both congestion and travel times, making Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool even more attractive to businesses and will bring a significant number of local jobs to the area.

Mr Houchen said: “The coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on all our lives and while I remain focused on making sure the health and wellbeing of everyone in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is protected, it is critical that we also work on delivering the infrastructure that is essential to my plans for jobs.

“Everyone knows how bad congestion on the A19 is and if want to support our amazing local businesses, if we want to create local jobs and attract investment, we must improve our transport infrastructure and at the heart of this is a new crossing over the River Tees.

“I’ve already committed £24million for the new crossing and now I’m proposing committing a further £11.5million to fully fund the building of the Portrack Relief Road. We’re doing our bit locally, now the government needs to step up and provide the £400million needed for the new Tees Crossing.

“The government knows how important this scheme is, that’s why they backed it during last year’s general election, now we need them to deliver for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”