Darlington Northern Link Road
The Darlington Northern Link Road first started life as the Darlington Northern Bypass and was put forward as a proposal by the Tees Valley Combined Authority in association with Darlington Borough Council to accommodate strategic traffic movements between the A1(M) and the Tees Valley.
The proposal would help to alleviate the current stress on the A1150 and A167 due to strategic traffic currently having to predominantly use these roads to access the A1 from Teesside.
Initially 2 routes were proposed – Route A which gave access close to Brafferton and Route B which passed through Skerningham.
Both routes were met with opposition. The ‘Say No to the Darlington Link Road’ (who were against both routes) and the ‘Barmpton & Skerningham Action Group’ (who were against route B only) were formed to oppose the proposal.
At the time the Northern Echo conducted their own online poll regarding the proposals for the road (the only one to have been conducted to date) the results of which are shown below. It resulted in an overwhelming 66% which said that neither option was preferred.
The Tees Valley Combined Authority subsequently took the decision that Route A was the preferred option. This came as no great surprise as the ‘A66 & A689 Tees Valley Strategic Study Stage 0.2 Report: Option Assessment’ published in September 2016 suggested that option 3.1 (which is virtually the same as Route A) was the better option as it had the potential to create a more appropriate amount of development land and was consequently modelled in the report.
The original Route A has now changed due to ground constraints with 3 options for Route A.
The Link Road was initially to be a dual carriageway at an approximate cost of £450m; however, it was highly unlikely that funding for this would be available so this has now reduced to a single carriageway with the cost decreasing dramatically. It is also hoped that if the Darlington local Plan is approved and the Skerningham Garden Village Development proceeds then more funding from different sources will be available to fund the road. In essence, if the Skerningham Garden Village does not proceed then it is highly likely that the Link Road will not proceed either.
At present the Tees Valley Combined Authority is consulting on its Strategic Transport Strategy which includes the Darlington Northern Link Road but, given that this road has already received funding for an Enhanced Strategic Outline Business Case to be prepared it is highly unlikely that it will be removed from the strategy.
At the moment this proposal is on hold to await the outcome of the Local Plan before it can finalise how the road is to be funded.
Whinfield Residents Association will keep you updated on its progress.