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Importance of Tees Valley transport links highlighted

The importance of the region’s transport infrastructure will be highlighted when the Tees Valley Combined Authority transport committee meets for the first time tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd June 2016).

Tees Valley Combined Authority will publish its Strategic Transport Plan in early 2017 with a new Tees Crossing, upgrading Darlington station to ensure it is HS2 ready, improved east-west road connectivity from the A1(M) to the international gateway at Teesport and Electrification of the Northallerton to Teesport rail line to improve freight to Teesport and passenger services to Middlesbrough have been identified as a priorities to drive and support economic growth.

The A19 carries 96,000 vehicles a day at the point it crosses the River Tees, compared to 43,000 carried by the A1(M) at the same point, emphasising its critical importance to the Tees Valley economy. 11 of the 12 Tees Valley Enterprise Zone sites lie within 20 minutes’ drive of the A19.

As part of Transport for the North’s (TfN) work on Strategic Local Connectivity, a new crossing of the River Tees was categorised as a “TfN Supported” intervention, for implementation between 2021 and 2025.

Cllr Bill Dixon, chair of the TVCA transport committee, which is holding its first meeting on 22nd June, said: “Four key transport projects have been identified, which will deliver better connectivity and benefits for the entire North region and wider.

“Since the signing of the Devolution deal we have been working with Transport for the North to position our region’s priorities within the Northern Transport Strategy.

“Although a major investment, the funding needed for a new Tees Crossing would be a tiny percentage of the Government’s transport budget but would have a significant economic impact on the area.

“A considerable amount of work has already gone on behind the scenes regarding the funding and delivery of the transport priorities highlighted.

“The Combined Authority’s transport committee will continue its efforts to ensure that transport connectivity across the Tees Valley is a priority for decision makers, regionally and nationally.”

A recent tour of the Tees Valley by Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary from the Department for Transport enabled him to see first-hand the importance of the Tees Valley as a key regional, national and global axis for North/South and East/West transport routes.

Lord Heseltine also identified transport connectivity as key to the economic success of the Tees Valley in his Opportunity Unlimited report.