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The Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Cabinet today gave the green light to progress business cases for two major projects that could transform the road network in Tees Valley.

The Combined Authority agreed on the approach for outline business cases for plans that include a new Tees Crossing and a new Northern Link Road in Darlington.

In the coming weeks, these proposals will be presented to the Department for Transport, with a bid for up to £4million from the Government backing the Combined Authority’s £1million investment to help take them to the next stage.

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “These all-important improvements will help to clear traffic blackspots that, for too long, have blighted our roadways.

“The upgrades will work for the residents, providing smoother journeys across the region. Not only that, but with increased access to Enterprise Zones and improved infrastructure to support Teesport, they will also underpin everything I am trying to do as Mayor in opening up the area for inward investment, growth and global recognition.”

A new Tees Crossing will cut down on congestion and slow journey times on the A19. It will provide additional capacity for up to 72,000 vehicles per day, and allow continued traffic flow should an incident happen on the A19 or A66.

The Combined Authority’s preferred route for a new crossing is the Viaduct Option, which would provide a new route for local traffic to cross the river, freeing up capacity on the current A19 Tees Flyover.

A Darlington Northern Link Road, between Junction 59 of the A1(M) and A66/A1150 Little Burdon will provide an alternative for unsuitable vehicles currently forced to use local roads such as the A1150 and A167.  Following consultation and analysis, the Combined Authority has selected Route A, the most northern of the two options, as its preferred route option.

Cllr Bill Dixon, Leader of Darlington Borough Council and Tees Valley Cabinet Member for Transport said: “Our roads would be made safer, more efficient and stronger under these plans. Improving journey times, better access to jobs and a consideration for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users alike.

“Over the summer we held a series of engagement events in all areas. The proposal for the new road in Darlington received a number of concerns from local residents. We have taken their feedback on board and I am pleased that Route A has emerged as the best route option.”

Bev Hutchinson, Chair of the Barmpton and Skerningham Action Group held a number of public protests in response to the plans. Bev attended the Combined Authority’s cabinet.  Speaking after the meeting she said: “Local residents were extremely concerned when these plans were unveiled. Whilst most people agree a new road is needed, it needs to have minimum impact on our environment and communities.

“I’m pleased our voice has been heard and welcome Route A as the preferred option. Local residents will continue to hold the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Darlington Borough Council to account on behalf of our communities.”

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, added: “There is a vital need for a new bypass to protect local residents from air pollution and congestion, and to improve road safety but we need to ensure the plans can proceed with wide local support.  I have worked alongside local residents to champion the views of those who are concerned about the impact on their local communities, and therefore welcome the Combined Authority’s agreement to select a route which minimises the impact on local villages.”