7:30am -Contraflow system in place on A1
The A1 near Gateshead is open one lane N'bound and two lanes S'bound while emergency repairs continue. We are continuing to remind motorists to plan their journey and allow extra time.
18.16pm *** IMPORTANT TRAVEL UPDATE FROM HIGHWAYS ENGLAND***
A1 closure to continue until Wednesday following discovery of large hole under road surface – measures in place to ease congestion as much as possible
Road users intending to travel north or southbound on the A1 near Newcastle and Gateshead are advised to expect delays this evening, tomorrow and Tuesday, as urgent work continues to repair a hole found under the northbound carriageway.
The hole is at least 3m deep and around 6.5m diameter and is believed to be related to old mine workings in the area.
It means the A1 northbound will be closed between junctions 67 (Coal House) and 68 (Lobley Hill) on the western side of Newcastle and Gateshead.
Work has been ongoing overnight and throughout today to investigate the extent of the hole, and start the necessary repair to make the carriageway safe for traffic. As that work continues extra measures are being put in place to minimise disruption; this includes introducing a contraflow on the southbound carriageway, lifting toll barriers for the Tyne Tunnel, and suspending roadworks on other key routes which are likely to be affected by traffic diverted from the A1.
However as the road carries an average 90,000 vehicles a day, there will be disruption on the A1, on the diversion routes and in the area, so drivers are advised to leave extra time for their journeys.
Rob Beckitt, duty operations manager at Highways England said: “Safety is our top priority; we have to ensure the carriageway is totally safe before drivers use it.
“We and our contractors have been working hard with partners since the hole was discovered last night, and will continue to do so to make the carriageway safe as quickly as possible. In the meantime I urge all drivers in the area to check conditions before they set out and to leave plenty of extra time for their journeys. I would also like to thank drivers in advance for their patience as we carry out this complex task.”
The hole is on the northbound carriageway between Coal House (junction 67) and Lobley Hill (junction 68) on the western side of Newcastle and Gateshead. The northbound carriageway is completely closed between these junctions.
Highways England, which manages motorways and trunk roads, has organised a number of measures to reduce the impact of the emergency works as much as possible.
Contraflow will be installed on the southbound A1 (J67-68) overnight on Sunday so that by Monday morning there is a lane open in each direction.
There will be extra Highways England traffic officer patrols and recovery vehicles on standby to quickly remove any breakdowns in the contraflow.
For local traffic a diversion will also remain in place through the Team Valley trading estate between junctions 67 and 68.
Longer distance traffic will be advised to use the A19 eastern route around Newcastle and Gateshead as an alternative to the A1 – and toll barriers for the Tyne Tunnel will be lifted to make this easier. Some planned closures for roadworks on the A19 have also been suspended.
A1 traffic heading further north towards Scotland will be advised to use the A66 from Scotch Corner across to the M6. Some roadworks on the A66 have also been suspended to help this.
“The A1 is a vital artery and we appreciate all the work Highways England is doing to keep traffic flowing as best as possible. We also have extra officers on duty, working hard to help manage the congestion and keep disruption to a minimal,” says Chief Superintendent Scott Hall of Northumbria Police.
“We thank motorists for their continued patience, and urge them to allow extra time for their journeys and re-think their travel plans to avoid the A1 if possible. We’re particularly appealing to commuters to plan alternative routes to work in the morning and for the evening rush hour as severe delays are expected until the road is safe enough to be re-opened.”
The large hole under the A1 was discovered by Highways England on Saturday night when a slight dip in the road surface became apparent. Workers then cut around the dip to investigate and discovered a large void underneath the road surface. Thankfully it was in a coned off stretch due to roadworks elsewhere on the A1, so there was no traffic using the road at the time.
The hole, estimated at around 140 cubic metres, is being filled with a specialist concrete mixture before the road is resurfaced. Following that contractors working for Highways England will need to drill holes on Tuesday to pump more material underneath the repair to prevent a repeat collapse. If all goes to plan they are hoping the road will be safe to re-open on Wednesday morning.
Road users will be advised when the carriageway is reopening.
Highways England provides live traffic information via its website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile platforms, such as Android and iPhone apps.
The hole is not located in the current roadworks for the A1 Coal House to Metro Centre J67-71 scheme to widen the road to a three-lane dual carriageway, so these emergency roadworks are not expected to delay the completion of that major scheme.
10:37 am ***IMPORTANT TRAVEL UPDATE***
There are A1 Diversions in place in relation to the closure between Coal House (junction 67) and Lobley Hill (junction 68). The road was closed this morning as essential work takes place to fill a large void found underneath the road and ensure it is safe for road users to travel.
1.A1 Northbound diverted onto A690 then onto A19 towards Newcastle
2.A1 Northbound onto A194M near to Birtley Services
3.Take A19 to A184 into Newcastle or back onto A1
4.Coalhouse Roundabout through Team Valley Trading Estate and back onto A1
5.Come off at Eighton Banks (A167 Durham Road) through Gateshead to Tyne Bridge or A184
All routes are likely to be busy especially rejoining the A1.
HGVs are requested to plan to use either diversions 1 or 2 unless necessary for local deliveries.
At around 11.45pm on Saturday, 25 June, police were contacted by the Highways England reporting that a large sinkhole (5m wide and 3m deep) on the A1 near to the Lobley Interchange on the Northbound carriageway.
This has resulted in the carriageway between Coal House (junction 67) and Lobley Hill (junction 68) being closed this morning as work takes place to fill the void found underneath the road.
Nobody has been injured and officers are working closely with Highways England to assist with traffic management.
A clearly signed diversion is in place at Junction 67, with drivers advised to follow the Solid Triangle when leaving at the junction to pick up the local route through the Team Valley trading estate and re-join the A1 at J68, however it is expected that this diversion will be extremely congested therefore drivers are asked to avoid the area unless absolutely necessary.
Alternative routes for Northbound drivers are the A19, A184 or A194 depending on the destination. Please also allow extra time.
We don't have information when the roads will be re-opened at this time but will keep udate you throughout the course of the day.
We thank motorists for their cooperation while work is underway to ensure the road is made safe for travel.
Highways England provides live traffic information available via its website (www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information)