Proposals to create a new £18million bypass on the outskirts of Hartlepool could see a new bridge created to cut collisions and save lives.
The area has seen a string of collisions in recent years which have seen motorists killed and severely injured.
In 2014, the Highways Agency commissioned a study into A19 junctions between the A689 at Wynyard and the A179 at Sheraton following the death of Scottish rugby player Keri Holdsworth in a horror smash on the dual carriageway near Dalton.
The new bypass on the A19 at Elwick Village is one of the key features of Hartlepool Borough Council’s new Local Plan development blueprint.
Talks have been ongoing between Hartlepool Borough Council and the Highways Agency over the development which could be completed by March 2020.
Council chiefs met to discuss the future of the plans and heard there have been a number of accidents, including fatalities, and Highways England has secured funding to look at design options for the creation of a grade separated junction, which would see a bridge built over the dual carriageway joining to the northbound lane of the A19.
The development will aim to divert traffic from new developments at High Tunstall from going through the village which already experiences high volumes of vehicles passing through to access the A19.
It is hoped that the work will be completed by March 2020 and help to reduce the number of accidents.
Council officers reported in summer last year that an application for a £600,000 loan from the Growing Places Fund had been successful.
And now, the authority’s Finance and Policy Committee has approved recommendations for the scheme to be carried out following a meeting at Hartlepool Civic Centre.
A report put before the committee read: “The concept of the grade separated junction and bypass has developed within the emerging Hartlepool Local Plan in conjunction with discussions between the local authority and Highways England.
“Historically the junctions at Elwick Village and Dalton Piercy have had safety issues and there has been a number of accidents, some of which were fatal; as such Highways England secured some funding to look at design options for the creation of a grade separated junction at one of the Elwick village junctions.”
It added: “A timescale has been agreed with Highways England to deliver these infrastructure improvements by the end of March 2020 in order to minimize disruption to the A19 as further works delivered by Highways England are due to commence in 2020 between Wolviston and North.
“It is envisaged that by design most of the bypass can be constructed with minimal disruption to the A19.”
The road is planned to bypass the village from a new junction to the north of the village.
At a previous meeting Denise Ogden, Hartlepool Council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, explained why the case for the bypass was being made, saying: “The need for this highways improvement has become apparent over recent years as both the A689 and the A179 have continued to become more and more congested.
“Through implementing these infrastructure improvements many benefits will be experienced including reduced congestion on other roads, increased safety in Elwick village and increased safety on the A19 at the Elwick junctions.”