Press release

Minister announces start of work for A1 Coal House to Metro Centre Improvement Scheme

Roads Minister John Hayes has confirmed that the A1 Coal House to Metro Centre improvement scheme, which will reduce congestion on the A1 around Gateshead will officially start on 26 August 2014, after the Bank Holiday Monday.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Roads Minister John Hayes

Road users will start to see some activity before the official start date. This is work to ensure the site is ready for construction and will include the installation of speed enforcement cameras and crossovers. From 26 August there will be some overnight closures to support start of work – further details are provided below.

Once complete, 3.98 miles of the A1 will be widened to three lanes in both directions – an additional 3.05 miles to what was previously planned, meaning the Western Bypass will be improved from the Coal House junction up to the Metro Centre junction, not just from Lobley Hill to Dunston.

Roads Minister John Hayes said:

I am delighted to confirm the start of this much anticipated and needed improvement to the A1 Western Bypass. This scheme, which is part of the Government’s record investment in infrastructure, will not only increase capacity and reduce congestion but will also support economic development. This exciting improvement is great news for local motorists; and everyone that uses the A1. The Government is determined to enhance and improve major road routes to benefit the economy and to serve the common good.

As well as widening the A1, a new 0.33 mile parallel link road will be built next to the mainline A1, for north and south-bound traffic, between Lobley Hill and Gateshead Quays. This will provide a route for local road users, helping to keep traffic moving on the A1. The work has been planned to ensure that there are two lanes running in each direction during the day and that any lane or carriageway closures take place during off-peak times in order to minimise disruption.

The closures starting on Tuesday 26 August will allow work to be carried out including temporary road markings and installation of temporary barriers and new signing.

The closures will be between 8pm and 6am and will be in place from:

  • 26 August 2014 until 30 August 2014 - northbound and southbound closures between Swalwell and Coal House roundabout
  • 1 September 2014 until 5 September 2014 - northbound and southbound closures between Swalwell and Coal House roundabout
  • 11 October 2014 to 12 October 2014 - northbound and southbound closures between Gateshead Quays and Lobley Hill.

During the closures there will be clearly signed diversions in place and road users are advised to allow extra time for their journeys. Each closure is subject to change at any time and will be publicised on the Highways Agency website. Further closures will be publicised nearer the time.

More information about the scheme is available on theHighways Agency website, via writing to the A1 Coal House to Metro Centre Project Team at Major Projects North, Highways Agency, Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds, LS11 9AT, emailing them at, or calling the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways Agency press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 21 August 2014