Agency slammed over A19 development ban

The Southerly Elwick junction with the A19 looking North.
The Southerly Elwick junction with the A19 looking North.

National transport bosses have been urged to improve the A19 rather than put the brakes on planned development near the busy road.

The Mail revealed this week that the Highways Agency has advised Hartlepool council not to allow any new development near Elwick village until safety concerns over the A19 junction have been solved.

This is absolutely no surprise to the road users ... the volume of traffic at peak times is beyond a joke.

Graeme Scott

Highways England issued formal advice to the authority concerning the north and south Elwick junctions and one at Dalton Piercy, which have seen numerous serious accidents - including fatalities - over the years.

There are plans to build more than 1,600 new homes in the area and the council is proposing to create an £18million bypass north of Elwick with new raised junctions as part of its new Local Plan.

But there was little support for the agency on social media, with readers on the Mail’s Facebook page lambasting it for a lack of planning to deal with the volume of traffic on the road.

Graeme Scott wrote: “This is absolutely no surprise to the road users ... the volume of traffic at peak times is beyond a joke.

“However, it is the complete abdication of the highways agency to manage this flow.”

And Steven Vardy-Huntington said the problems could have been foreseen decades ago.

“When the A19 was upgraded to dual carriageway between 1969 and 1971, some of these junctions could cope with the traffic levels but even (then) some could not,” he said.

“The original Wolviston and Billingham bypass had to be bypassed 13 years after it was built due to the traffic levels. The flyover was only used for 13 years until it was demolished.”

Others called for the two-lane stretch to be widened - or even circumvented altogether.

Andy Hammond said: “It should be three lanes, simple as that,” while Chelle Galloway wrote: “That’s the worst junction on the A19 and needs a bypass.

Diane Stead, however, blamed bad drivers: “Nothing to do with homes, it’s IDIOTS in a rush on a morning,” she said.