MAJOR plans for a £6m upgrade for one of the busiest roads in the Hartlepool area have been welcomed by a senior councillor.
Traffic lights and widening is planned for the A19/A689 Wolviston interchange and the project is one of 10 across the north to get Government backing.
Conservative group leader Ray Wells said he believes it will help in the battle to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the £32.4m of schemes in the north were part of a £217m national programme to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on England’s motorways and major A road.
Work on the £6.1m Wolviston scheme is set to start next year and it is hoped to be completed by 2015.
Coun Wells said: “As Conservative group leader I am delighted that the Conservative-led government has again not turned its back on the people of Hartlepool in awarding this £6.1m of funding.
“This will enable further development on the Wynyard business park side which has already created some 2,000 genuine jobs.
“This upgrade on the road system will ease current congestion and I’m confident it will help create many more jobs for Hartlepool by improving the access.”
Officials at the Highways Agency say they hope it will reduce congestion by upgrading the merger road onto the A19 southbound carriageway, widening the A689 west approach to the roundabout, and installing traffic signals on all approaches to the junction.
They say the work supports the enterprise zones in the Hartlepool area where 1,940 jobs are expected to be created by 2020.
It also supports Hartlepool’s core strategy plans to create 2,500 new houses as well as backing the export economy associated with Hartlepool port.
Speaking yesterday, Mr McLoughlin said: “By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy.”