COAST ROAD: Works could start in 2022
Work to move the Coast Road between South Shields and Sunderland is expected to start next year (2022), according to highways chiefs.
Bosses behind the project have also insisted the scheme, expected to preserve the route from the encroaching sea for half a century, will not damage Marsden’s historic lime kilns.
Fears have been raised over ‘critical pinch points’ along the A183 caused by erosion of the cliff face and caves along its length.
“This will move the road away from the cliff top at the tightest point, while the existing road would be returned to grassland,” said Dave Carr, South Tyneside Council’s highways and infrastructure manager.
“Various mitigation measures have been factored into the design to ensure important local features such as the light kills are not adversely affected.
“It’s currently envisaged that the road’s realignment will extend the lifespan of the Coast Road by approximately 50 years.”
Carr was speaking at yesterday’s (Monday, April 12) meeting of the borough council’s Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), which was held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube.
An more detailed assessment of the impact of the works is expected to be completed later this year, ahead of a formal planning application being made.
According to Carr, construction is likely to begin ‘towards the end of next year (2022)’, but will mostly take place ‘offline’ to minimise congestion, although some road closures will be needed.
During a previous debate on the proposals Cllr Gladys Hobson suggested the ‘eyesore’ lime kilns at Marsden, which date from the 1870s, could be demolished to make way for the realigned road, prompting criticism from Historic England.
Cllr Wilf Flynn, chairman of Hebburn CAF, however, was keen to praise the scheme.
He added: “I hope when the media reports the Hebburn CAF discussion on the Coast Road, it’s done positively.
“It’s a positive need, but I think the publicity it’s had generated has just been abysmal.”
Highways bosses at the borough council have admitted the Coast Road’s realignment is likely to be a stopgap measure only, with Lizard Lane, further inland, a likely candidate for upgrades to one day take over most traffic from the A183.
Words: James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporter
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