Work at a busy road junction in County Durham has resumed as a council begins to reinstate some projects and services.
Durham County Council has resumed work on Junction 61 at Bowburn, one of the projects it halted in March in response to government guidance aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
The authority stopped all roadworks barring critical and emergency works but in line with the latest national guidance, a number of highways projects are resuming including Bowburn.
Work on the junction, which links the A1M, A177 and A688 south of Bowburn, started in June 2019 to improve the junction ahead of new developments in the area which will see an increase in the number of vehicles.
The junction which offers a key link for businesses, residents and those using the motorway to County Durham was due to be completed in Spring 2020.
From today (Monday 11 May) daily road closures will be in place from 6am to 6pm until Sunday 7 June. This will include undertaking works on the A688 at the Roadchef junction, around the northern edge of the junction and the traffic island at the main junction; the A1M north exit slip road to the A688; resurfacing the junction and finalising new traffic lights.
The southbound entrance and exit on the A1(M) Bowburn will be closed with no access to the B6291 towards Coxhoe and A177 towards Bowburn from the southbound entrance from today for eight days until Wednesday 20 May while work is undertaken.
The Northbound entrance and exit on the A1(M) Bowburn will be closed with no access to the A177 towards Bowburn or Roadchef services on the A688 from Thursday 21 May until Sunday 7 June while work is undertaken. There will also be no east to west access from Coxhoe to Bowburn during this period.
Diversions will be in place throughout the duration of these works and those making essential journeys that would ordinarily take them along these roads are advised to allow extra time when planning their route.
All dates and times are provisional.
Meanwhile the council is also reinstating highway services where it is safe to do so to ensure that essential works are undertaken in the summer months to restore the structural integrity of roads and bridges, and prevent deterioration.
These projects include road resurfacing and specialist surfacing schemes, gully cleansing, highways and street lighting maintenance, and bridges and structures; while the council will continue to offer critical and emergency works including emergency repairs, road traffic accidents and emergency highway defects.
All activity will be undertaken in a safe and controlled environment in accordance with Public Health England and government advice, with staff adhering to social distancing guidance.
Mark Readman, the council’s highway services manager, said: “The health of all of us is of the utmost importance and so it was only right that we halted all roadworks except critical and emergency works in line with government guidance aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.
“All the projects and services we are now resuming or reinstating are firmly in line with the latest guidance and we will ensure the safety of staff on these works.”