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A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Junction improvements

Middlesbrough Council made the decision to shut down the A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Junction Improvements site (also known as the A66 Throughabout site) on Tuesday 24 March. This decision was made in consultation with A E Yates, the scheme contractor, and followed the introduction of the UK-wide lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst the decision to shut the site down was the right one at that time, the situation has changed over the intervening period, with the government recently issuing guidance on safe working in the construction sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision has, therefore, been taken to restart works on a phased basis with effect from Monday 4 May 2020, with working practices amended where necessary in order to comply with the government guidance. A E Yates has also sought – and received – assurances from its key suppliers regarding the resilience of the materials supply chain whilst the restrictions around the pandemic remain in place. Safety, both for the site operatives and the travelling public, was the key consideration in the council's decision.

The A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Junction is located approximately two kilometres to the east of Middlesbrough town centre, as shown on the plan below:


© Crown copyright and database rights Ordnance Survey 2019

The A66 is the busiest east-west route in the Borough, with the section immediately to the west of the Cargo Fleet junction carrying around 50,000 vehicles on a typical weekday. As well as serving the town centre, the A66 plays a key strategic role in connecting the A19 and A1(M) Trunk Roads to the west with Teesport and the South Tees Development Corporation site to the east. A171 Cargo Fleet Lane is one of the Borough’s busiest north-south routes, serving east Middlesbrough and linking the town centre with Guisborough, Whitby and Scarborough.

Current situation

The existing highway layout comprises a large, partially signalised roundabout at the junction of the A66 and A171 Cargo Fleet Lane, together with a smaller, unsignalised roundabout at the junction of Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road. A signal-controlled pedestrian crossing facility connects the businesses on Cambridge Road (on the north side of the A66) with Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road (on the south side of the A66). There are no signal-controlled pedestrian crossing facilities on either Cargo Fleet Lane or South Bank Road.

The A66/A171 junction currently carries around 5,000 vehicles per hour during the morning and evening peak periods, and operates close to its practical capacity at such times. This frequently results in delays and congestion, increasing journey times and reducing journey time reliability on two of the Borough’s most strategically important roads – and, potentially, constraining future economic growth across the Tees Valley.

Proposed scheme

The proposed scheme comprises the introduction of a ‘throughabout’ – a signalised roundabout with two lanes of traffic in each direction running through the middle of it – at the A66/A171 Cargo Fleet Lane junction, together with the introduction of a signal controlled crossroads at the junction of Cargo Fleet Lane and South Bank Road. The aerial image below shows how the reconfigured junction will look:

image

The throughabout was developed following detailed microsimulation modelling work carried out in order to test a number of potential options designed to improve the capacity of the existing roundabout and, therefore, its ability to handle the expected increase in peak period traffic movements between now and 2025. The throughabout was found to deliver the greatest benefits of the options tested, effectively mitigating the impact of the growth in traffic predicted over the next six years due to new residential and commercial developments both in Middlesbrough and the wider Tees Valley area.

The re-routing of A66 traffic through the centre of the roundabout will reduce the volume of traffic using the circulatory carriageway, making it easier for drivers to enter the junction from Cambridge Road and Works Road. A new signal controlled pedestrian crossing facility will be introduced to replace the existing route linking the north and south sides of the junction.

The introduction of a signalised crossroads at the Cargo Fleet Lane/South Bank Road junction will ensure that the two junctions operate together as efficiently as possible. Just as importantly, it will allow signal-controlled pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities to be introduced, providing a safe and direct route for users of Route 1 of the National Cycle Network – which runs along South Bank Road – and, by doing so, improving cycle connectivity between Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland.

Once operational, the new road layout will improve the capacity and resilience of both junctions, reducing journey times and improving journey time reliability, particularly during the busy morning and evening peak periods. CCTV cameras at both junctions will allow their operation to be monitored continuously, whilst the introduction of an uninterruptable power supply will ensure that the traffic signals continue to operate in the event of an unexpected failure in the mains supply.

The estimated cost of the proposed scheme is £4.425 million. £2.950 million has been secured from the National Productivity Investment Fund (administered by the Department for Transport), with a further £1.013 million secured from the Local Growth Fund (administered by the Tees Valley Combined Authority). The remaining £0.462 million will be met by Middlesbrough Council, funded from its Local Transport Capital Programme.

Construction programme and temporary traffic management

Following a competitive tender process, contractor A E Yates Ltd has been appointed to deliver the scheme on behalf of the council. Completion of the scheme is currently set for late summer 2020, although this date is subject to change due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The section of Cargo Fleet Lane between the A66 and South Bank Road will remain closed whilst works are underway, with traffic diverted via South Bank Road and Middlesbrough Road. A secondary diversion is in operation via A1085 Longlands Road and the A172 Longlands Spur Road to cater for traffic movements between Cargo Fleet Lane and the A66 (west).

View a plan showing the extent of the road closure and the primary and secondary diversion routes

As of Monday 6 January, it is no longer possible for vehicles to turn right or U-turn at the A66 Roundabout. Cambridge Road and Works Road are operating on a 'left in, left out' basis, with access to both roads only available from the A66 (Eastbound). Drivers travelling on the A66 (Westbound) who need to access Cambridge Road or Works Road should continue to the Middlehaven Interchange and then turn back towards Cargo Fleet on the A66 (Eastbound). Drivers travelling on Cambridge Road or Works Road who need to access the A66 (Westbound) should head east on the A66 to the Old Station Road Roundabout in South Bank, and then turn back towards Cargo Fleet on the A66 (Westbound). Both diversion routes are clearly signposted.

Vehicular access to surrounding properties will be maintained at all times, as will pedestrian access from South Bank Road to Cambridge Road.

To expedite the delivery of the scheme, the Council has relaxed the current requirement for A E Yates to maintain two lanes in each direction on the A66 between 7 am and 7 pm, Monday to Saturday, thereby taking advantage of the significant reduction in traffic flows across the network since the lockdown restrictions came into effect. Both carriageways of the A66 will, therefore, be reduced to a single lane over the weekend of Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May, with these restrictions remaining in place until eastbound traffic is transferred onto the new alignment through the centre of the roundabout.  However, if traffic flows increase over the coming weeks, the previous restriction on daytime lane closures will be reintroduced to ensure that congestion on the A66 is reduced to a minimum. The temporary 30mph speed limit on the A66 will remain in operation to ensure the safety of road users and the site operatives.

In order to introduce the single lane restriction for eastbound traffic, and to allow an existing concrete vehicle barrier to be removed safely, a full closure of the eastbound carriageway of the A66 will be required between the exit to the A172 Longlands Spur Road and the Old Station Road Roundabout in South Bank. This closure will come into effect at 8pm on Friday 1 May and will be removed by 6am on Saturday 2 May. The signposted diversion route will be via the A172 Longlands Spur Road, A1085 Longlands Road, A171 Cargo Fleet Lane, South Bank Road and Middlesbrough Road. Access to Cambridge Road will only be possible via Works Road whilst the closure is in place.

View a plan showing the extent of the overnight road closure and the signposted diversion route.

The single lane restriction for westbound traffic will be introduced during the day, either on Saturday 2 or Sunday 3 May. The westbound carriageway of the A66 will remain open to traffic throughout.

Every effort will be made to minimise disruption to the travelling public whilst works are underway. However, given the scale of the scheme and the high volume of traffic that uses the junction on a daily basis, delays on the surrounding road network are inevitable. Drivers are, therefore, asked to allow additional time for their journey, and to exercise caution when passing the works area.

Further information

Reports on the microsimulation modelling work undertaken during development of the scheme are available:

The information on this page will be updated on a regular basis throughout the life of the project. If you have any specific queries about the scheme, please contact highway_improvements@middlesbrough.gov.uk.

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