Killingworth Road re-opens for southbound traffic

A key commuter route has finally re-opened – but only for one way traffic southbound coming into Newcastle.

The improvements are part of Newcastle City Council’s plans to improve key junctions across the city – the so-called “Northern Access Corridor” from the Blue House Roundabout, Jesmond Dene Road to Haddricks Mill and beyond.

You can read more about the previous plans from August 2016 for the Blue House Roadabout and Jesmond Dene Road elsewhere on this website.

The following announcement has been made by Newcastle City Council:

As construction work is still ongoing, Newcastle City Council have a phased opening for the A189 in South Gosforth.

Initially only southbound traffic (towards Newcastle city centre) will be allowed on Killingworth Road, with two-way traffic using the road from later in the summer.

Cabinet member for transport and air quality, Cllr Arlene Ainsley said: “It’s great to have Killingworth Road re-opened after its extended closure due to over-running gas works, which has been frustrating for commuters and people living nearby.

“The phased opening allows people on foot and bikes full access with southbound traffic only. Two-way traffic will be back on the road later in the summer when there is enough space to run traffic safely alongside our construction teams.

“Once complete, the project will have addressed a major bottle-neck and maintenance issue on our highways network and provided more sustainable travel choices to help address air quality issues in the local area.”

The council are investing over £13.5m to address maintenance issues and widen a well-known pinch point on the network which caused congestion and delays on one of the city’s busiest roads.

The programme of works included the installation of a new wider Metro bridge, diversion of major gas pipes which severely delayed the project, as well as the widening of the road to install a bus lane and improved facilities for those on foot and bikes.

As part of the closure bus services were re-routed. Stagecoach bus services will keep to their diversion routes but Arriva services 54, X7 and X8 are advising passengers of changes to their routes towards Newcastle.

Construction will continue until 2020.

The above news story was issued by Newcastle City Council and included on the Newcastle City Council website. It has been included here for information and does not necessarily represent the views of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association. 

 

Blue House roundabout plans ‘on hold’

The Evening Chronicle has reported that the plans to overhaul Newcastle’s Blue House roundabout are ‘on hold’ because of the city’s pollution issues.

Newcastle City Council first unveiled its plans to make major changes to the Blue House Roundabout in 2016.

‘Mega roundabout’ on the Town Moor

The original plans were for a so-called ‘mega roundabout’ to be built on the Town Moor.

There was substantial concern from local residents and huge protests took place which saw the original proposals abandoned.

High West Jesmond Residents Assiciation (HWJRA) represented the views of local residents at the time and opposed the 2016 plans.

Subsequently HWJRA, together with Jesmond Residents Association, West Gosforth Residents Association and others were represented on the Blue House Working Group which was then set up to consider alternative suggestions.

You can read a background summary on the Blue House Roundabout here.

Blue House Working Group made proposals

It’s now more than a year since an the alternative proposal from the Blue House Working Group was unveiled and it was expected that a response from Newcastle City Council would be announced soon.

It was anticipated that final designs for Blue House roundabout were being developed and modelled based on recommendations from the working group set up following the backlash to original proposals in the summer of 2016.

And these final plans were anticipated to be publicised this summer.

Read more: Haddricks Mill roundabout improvements to start

Read more: Blue House Working Group recommendations slide deck available 

Read more: Meeting hears recommendations from Blue House Working Group

‘On hold’

The Evening Chronicle has reported that plans for the Blue House roundabout have been put ‘on hold’.

Read more on the Evening Chronicle website: Blue House roundabout on hold due to pollution crisis

We need to ‘take into account air quality’

The Evening Chronicle reported on 28 March 2019 that Graham Grant, Head of Transport Investment, told a Newcastle City Council Oversight and Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday that:

“We need to take into account the consultation on air quality.

At the moment, both the Blue House roundabout and Haddricks Mill both feature as part of the Clean Air Zone – we have been clear that we are open to different ideas and interpretations and are consulting on an alternative.

“We need to understand where we are going with that piece of work before we can commit to the design of the Blue House roundabout.

We have said that we will deliver improvements there not all at the same time — we are doing Killingworth Road, then Haddricks Mill, then Blue House roundabout.

We feel that we have sufficient time to take into account the outcomes of the air quality work before we finalise proposals.”

You can read a background summary on the Blue House Roundabout here.

Residents parking

There has been an ongoing and rather lively debate on the HWJRA Facebook page about the pros and cons of residents’ parking in our area.

Live in High West Jesmond? why not join our HWJRA Facebook group

It’s fair to say that opinion is divided on this matter with those people living on streets near to the metro and bus stops (Albury Road, Moorfield, Ilford Road) more likely to be in favour than those who do not.

The council last tested local opinion on this matter in 2010 and are prepared to do so again, however before they can put the issue of residents’ parking to a local poll they need to conduct an assessment of the current parking density in the area.

HWJRA has pointed out to the council that if they were to do an assessment right now then it might be misrepresentative of what is about to happen.

This is because, under the Streets for People proposed changes to Ilford Road and Moorfield, a number of parking spaces would be lost on both roads with the likely net result that the parking density in the middle part of Moorfield would become even greater.

We have therefore suggested to the council that they either factor this in to their calculations or they delay the assessment until the Streets for People work is completed. We will keep you updated on this.