Britain’s road are infested with roundabouts. Because they’re cheap, which will have appealed to 50 years of governments loath to spend any money at all on road building.
Of course, we all know that roundabouts don’t really work as a means of organising different traffic flows. Especially at peak times when big ones can easily descend into anarchy. But when there’s no money and even less imagination at Highways England, we’re stuck with them.
Or maybe not. The tide may gradually be turning. It started 15 years ago when most of the roundabouts were rubbed off the A1 and now there’s this incredible triple-decker structure that will be built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
It will replace the existing roundabout at the junction of the north-south A19 and east-west A1058, a notorious bottle-neck. Currently, the A19 passes over the roundabout, which has to deal with traffic crossing the A19 on the A1058 and traffic coming off the A19. Plus there’s the traffic to and from a busy retail park to deal with.
The big change for the new junction is that the A1058 will pass under the roundabout, which will then just have to deal with the relatively small volume of traffic switching between roads.
It’s a blindingly obvious solution to the problem, albeit a huge, ambitious and therefore expensive bit of civil engineering. That there is now the money and gumption within Highways England to do it is a very good thing. Let’s hope it’s just the start and that we might one day have properly designed and engineered roads.
Work on the A19/A1058 junction will start this summer and is expected to take two years.
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By Only Motors