£4m improvements to dangerous junction to start

View of Haddricks Mill junction
Haddricks Mill set for £4m of improvements

Improvements to one of the busiest and most dangerous junctions in the city are due to be carried out by Newcastle City Council.

Haddricks Mill double roundabout in South Gosforth is set to benefit from £4m investment to improve safety and congestion through an upgrade of the ageing infrastructure in the area.

A well-known collision hotspot Haddricks Mill also suffers from congestion, delays and safety issues - particularly in relation to cyclists.

Six roads converge onto the junction which is used by tens of thousands of commuters each day, with queues building up at peak periods, leading to longer journey times and affecting air quality in the area.

The major investment will renovate the bridge the junction sits on, realign traffic lanes to improve lane discipline, re-position the mini-roundabouts to increase capacity and install new crossing facilities that will help balance traffic flow in peak periods. This should have the added benefit of reducing high levels of congestion and improving air quality.

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality said: “Haddricks Mill is a notorious junction and I am pleased it is to be given a much-needed overhaul.

“This is a major safety and infrastructure upgrade scheme, designed to improve safety and smooth traffic flow at peak periods - reducing congestion and encouraging more sustainable choices of travel – which should improve air quality.

“Due to the junction’s location over the Ouseburn and several businesses lining the approaches, the options available to improve it are limited but we have designed a scheme that delivers safety and congestion improvements for one of the key routes into the city and which takes into account residents’ feedback from our earlier consultation.”

The works are a scaled-down version of the proposals the council consulted on in 2016 and addresses many of the concerns raised by residents such as the size of the junction, changes to access to a local housing estate and proposed banned turns and movements.

The council plans to take advantage of the current closure on Killingworth Road to start preparatory work on the junction, reducing the disruption to commuters before the main works start.

The main programme of work to the carriageway will be begin this spring and should last until early 2020. However, the council is committed to minimising disruption and keeping two-way traffic on all approaches - apart from occasional night-time and weekend closures for resurfacing towards the end of the programme.

Minor tree removal is necessary with up to ten trees needing to be removed as part of the scheme, but the council will replace them with at least 30 trees to further improve the environment.

The full package of improvements includes:

•           Water-proofing and maintenance to the bridge the junction sits on

•           Re-construction of carriageway

•           Raised bridge parapets to improve safety

•           Realignment of the roundabouts to increase capacity

•           Widened lanes and better signage to improve lane discipline

•           Improved crossing points for pedestrians and cyclists on the main arms of the junction to control the flow of traffic at peak periods

•           Improved cycling and walking facilities including accessible routes to the Wagon Way

•           Segregated cycle lanes incorporated where space allows

•           Raised table to reduce speeding on Hunters Road

The works to Haddricks Mill is part of planned improvements for a key transport corridor which runs from Cowgate to the north of the city, including Blue House roundabout, Haddricks Mill and Killingworth Road.

Final designs for Blue House are being developed and modelled based on recommendations from a working group set up following the backlash to original proposals in the summer of 2016. These will be publicised this summer.

The project received £4m from the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North East Growth Deal.

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