Darlington Northern Connectivity: Town Centre to Harrowgate Hill

Closing Date: 31st December 2024

Location: Darlington

Travel

The A167 links Darlington to Durham, via Harrowgate Hill and Coatham Mundeville. Improvements are needed to the north around Harrowgate Hill where there is regular congestion which can delay buses and walking, wheeling, and cycling links could also be improved. We want your ideas on how we can make walking, wheeling, cycling and bus journeys easier at Harrowgate Hill and to access the town centre.

Darlington Town Centre to Harrowgate Hill Connectivity

The A167 North Road between Burtree Lane and Salters Lane North is an important route for traffic from the southwest of County Durham to the A66 (for Teesside) avoiding Darlington Town Centre. The A66 Darlington bypass does not extend to the north of the town, meaning this traffic also uses the Harrowgate Hill roundabout to pass to the north of Darlington on route to locations such as Teesside and the A19. The route is also important for longer-distance traffic, including lorries.

Darlington town centre is an important destination for shoppers, workers, and visitors. The A167 which passes through Harrowgate Hill in the north provides a key link to Darlington from the A1(M) at Newton Aycliffe, as well as providing a connection to the A66 towards Teesside. Harrowgate Hill is near the roundabout where North Road (A167) meets Salters Lane North (A1150).

Wider Vision for Darlington North

Darlington is growing, with plans for new homes and employment opportunities, including at Beaumont Hill and Skerningham Garden Village. This means there will be more journeys in the future, making key roads in the vicinity busier as a result.  We are looking at major infrastructure improvements in these areas, including the feasibility of a Northern Link Road, from A66 Little Burdon to J59 (A1M) as a means of managing the increase in traffic and to cater for significant HGV movement along the A1150/A167 (Salters Lane).

The Tees Valley Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) identified North Road as a priority route for improvement.

Darlington to Durham is a key cross boundary bus corridor, linking to employment and educational opportunities, such as in South West Durham and Darlington.  It’s vital therefore, that bus journeys can operate without delays.

North Road also provides a key link within Darlington, such as to town centre, Darlington rail station, and the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter (DRHQ) (Hopetown) around the Head of Steam Museum which is being developed into a major new visitor attraction by 2024. For further information on this project click here.

For an enlarged version of the map, please click here.

Current Transport Issues at Harrowgate Hill

Buses travelling from Durham, Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe access Darlington along the A167. Buses from Middlesbrough use Salters Lane North to access Darlington. These bus services meet at Harrowgate Hill roundabout, before continuing south along North Road into Darlington town centre. This is a busy route for all vehicles, particularly for those travelling to Teesside from north of Darlington. As there is a lot of traffic using these routes it can cause congestion and delays at some of the key junctions on the A167.

We have identified transport issues around the following locations:

Harrowgate Hill Roundabout

  • Buses often get stuck in congestion at the Harrowgate Hill roundabout during periods of heavy traffic, which can make bus journeys slow and unreliable.
  • This is because there are limited gaps in traffic at the roundabout for buses to enter, meaning buses often sit and wait for a gap. The roundabout is also small, and queues can easily build up, leading to congestion and delay.
  • There are signalised pedestrian crossings on the A167 (set back from the roundabout). There are uncontrolled pedestrian crossings on the Salters Lane North arm of the roundabout, but the guard railing around the roundabout can make it difficult to cross easily.

A167 / Burtree Lane at the White Horse pub and Harrowgate Hill Lodge hotel

  • Buses and cars can get delayed at the traffic lights.
  • Buses often get stuck in congestion during periods of heavy traffic, which can make bus journeys slow and unreliable.
  • The Burtree Lane junction is difficult to cross for people walking, wheeling, and cycling. The junction is surrounded by guard railing for safety reasons and there is no direct crossing, meaning people must cross in several stages across the A167 and Burtree Lane which can take a long time. Access for people on foot, cycling or with limited mobility can be difficult as people have to use several sets of traffic lights to complete the crossing.
Opportunities 

We want to deliver improvements to help improve bus, walking, wheeling, or cycling journeys and make these more attractive travel options.

Here are some opportunities that may help address the issues we have highlighted on this route:

  • Introduce measures to give buses priority over other vehicles, such as dedicated bus lanesto bypass the traffic.
  • We could improve the layout of these junctions and roads.
  • Introduce measures at signalised junctions to enable buses to flow more freely.
  • We could restrict traffic movements to or from side streets to reduce conflicts and delay from right turning vehicles.
  • Upgraded dedicated crossing facilities at junctions to allow walkers, wheelers, and cyclists to cross the road safely.
  • There is an opportunity to fill in gaps in the network to provide a continuous route for people walking, wheeling, and cycling.
  • Provide new segregated cycle lanes where there are none, and upgrade existing footways and cycle paths.
Benefits  

These may offer the following benefits:

  • Buses can bypass waiting traffic, so they can move ahead more quickly.
  • Buses could move through junctions more efficiently.
  • Quicker journey times for buses using priority measures.
  • More reliable journey times through these junctions.
  • Reduced congestion and queuing could result in more reliable journeys for all vehicles.
  • Safer, joined up and more attractive walking, wheeling, and cycling crossings around Harrowgate Hill.
  • Improved walking, wheeling, and cycling links.
  • Dedicated paths for cyclists mean they do not need to share road space, reducing conflicts with other road users.
  • Contributes to the delivery of a full and connected network of cycle routes across Darlington.
  • Review the provision of accessible dropped kerbs in the area.
Impacts 

We recognise that there may be some impacts, these could include:

  • Vehicles might need to give way to buses.
  • Cars and other vehicles may have to wait slightly longer at the traffic lights or junctions.
  • May reduce space for other road users.
  • May require some removal of on street parking.
  • Grass verges or vegetation may need to be cut back.
Other Issues? 

If you think there are other transport issues between Darlington Town Centre and Harrowgate Hill, please let us know on the feedback form.

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Timeline

Stage 1 - Sharing ambitions and vision for transport improvements across Tees Valley. Summer 2023
Stage 2 - Public engagement looking at key issues and opportunities around potential transport solutions. Summer 2024
Stage 3 - Specific consultations after transport plans are further developed with public feedback taken onboard. Later in 2024 / 2025

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