DARLINGTON’S ten-year flirtation with a hamburger is to come to an end in a roundabout sort of a way in September.

The historic throughabout at the end of the Eastern Transport Corridor is to be replaced by a more conventional gyratory interchange, and it is the latest, and hopefully last, chapter in the story of a controversial road.

The throughabout concept, where a main road drives through the centre of a roundabout, was first put forward by the Highways Agency in 1998 when it was called “a hamburger” because of the way it looks from the air (in Spain, where throughabouts are popular, they are apparently called “raquetas” as somehow they look like tennis rackets).

The Eastern Transport Corridor, which opened in August 2008, was controversial because residents were surprised when they found traffic running on a roof-level embankment, and then they discovered the bill for the road had risen from £12m to £14.4m. About £250,000 was spent when an unexpected colony of newts turned up, and then a further £20,000 was spent on consultants investigating the overspend.

The throughabout as an idea was not popular, and in its early days, motorists were “baffled” by the new signs and traffic lights, which caused long delays. Then, in 2009, the traffic lights were turned off completely for roadworks, and it was discovered that the traffic flowed almost perfectly.

There are other throughabouts in the country, mostly uncontroversial, although Yeovil’s 42-traffic light one opened in February to long, “road-rage inducing” delays.

Ironically, just as Darlington starts ripping out its throughabout, Middlesbrough will begin installing one at Cargo Fleet on the A66.

However, I think the Darlington throughabout’s biggest crime has always been its lack of historical awareness.

The Eastern Transport Corridor is beside the original trackbed of the Stockton & Darlington Railway of 1825 – when the road was built, the track was uncovered, its historic items were noted and mapped, and then they were covered beneath three metres of soil.

Next to the throughabout, the road goes over the Arnold Road tunnel, which is an unsexy object, marked only by graffiti and that undefinable but dubious smell that clings to underpasses. Yet, it was built in 1823 or 1824, probably by George Stephenson himself, to allow the Hundens farmer to get his sheep under the railway without having them squashed.

It may well be the oldest surviving piece of railway infrastructure in the birthplace of the railways.

Sadly, the overspend on the road in 2008 meant that the mooted historical interpretation was abandoned. The only railway touch is that in 2017, the road – the B6279 – was named Tornado Way, after the magnificent newly-built engine.

If, after a decade, we are righting the wrong of the throughabout, now is also the time, as the global event that is the 200th anniversary of the railway approaches in 2025, to correctly interpret the world-changing history of the site.

And a roundabout provides a perfect stage on which to do so.

In the middle of a roundabout in Thornaby, there’s a hovering Spitfire to commemorate the airfield. In a roundabout on the edge of Saltburn, there’s an ironstone miners’ lamp; in a roundabout on the A66 at South Bank, there’s a startlingly good sculpture of molten steel pouring from a ladle – until you work it out, it is baffling how the sculpture supports itself.

Will Darlington grace its new roundabout with an artistic view of Locomotion No 1 to show that, at last, it is proud of its past?