A JUNCTION has been partially closed after a car crash caused a substantial amount of damage to a set of traffic lights.

The accident happened at the A690 Carrville and Belmont junction, near Durham at about 1.40am on Boxing Day.

The car came off the road and crashed on the verge, damaging the traffic light control equipment.

Durham Police says it believes the two occupants got out of the car and set fire to it.

Durham County Council has installed temporary lights and has had to close the filter lanes which allow drivers to turn right.

Dave Wafer, Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager, said: “These restrictions are in place to ensure the safety of road users until new controls are operational and we ask all motorists to observe them and not take unnecessary risks.

“We would advise drivers who would normally travel through this junction to find an alternative route if possible and if it is not, to allow extra time for their journey.

“As the controller which operates each set of lights is slightly different it’s not simply a case of providing an off the shelf replacement, especially for some of the older installations such as this.

The Northern Echo:

Traffic is being diverted following the Boxing Day crash

“However we will install new controls as quickly as possible to allow traffic to get back to normal and thank the travelling public in the meantime for its patience and understanding.”

Anyone wishing to turn right towards Carrville from the A690 eastbound will either have to follow a diversion via Houghton-le-Spring, or access the area by heading into Durham past Belmont Business Park and using Broomside Lane.

People wishing to access Belmont Park and Ride from the A690 westbound can follow the diversion around the nearby A1 (M) roundabout.

The restrictions are expected to be in place until Friday, January 10 when new control equipment is scheduled to be installed.

Motorists approaching the junction from Carrville will be able to head east and west on the A690 and straight on, to the park and ride.

A spokeswoman for Durham Police said: "Police were called at 1.40am on December 26 after a vehicle came off the A690 and crashed on a verge, damaging traffic light control equipment.

"It is believed that the two occupants got out of the car and set it alight, before leaving the scene of the collision, which happened at Carville, opposite the entrance to the Park and Ride. As a result the fire service were also called to the incident."

Any witnesses should call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 32 of December 26.