A new road has opened linking Leadgate with Villa Real. It is hoped the road – a section of which forms part of the famous Coast to Coast Cycle Route – will make life easier for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and provide a boost for businesses in Leadgate.
The building of the road, which cost £2.4 million, has meant the demolition of the old Villa Real Bridge. The bridge was so narrow that traffic could only pass over it one way at one time, often causing bottlenecks. The demolition of the old bridge, which was in poor condition, has also removed the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining the dilapidated structure.
Built by Durham County Council, the new road provides a direct, two-lane link between Front Street in Leadgate and Villa Real, which should allow traffic to flow smoothly in both directions.
Front Street is where most of Leadgate’s shops and businesses are concentrated, along with a local cooperative venture.
The new road has bus lay-bys, as well as crossing islands. In addition, the section of the road that forms part of the Coast to Coast (also known as the Sea to Sea) Cycle Route has been widened.
Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council cabinet member for regeneration, said,
“We’re delighted to officially open the new road and complete this major investment in the area.”
“The improvements will mean a much better flow of traffic, making life easier for motorists and supporting local businesses by improving access to shops and housing.”
“Once again we’d like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience while this work has been carried out. It has been a lengthy and complex scheme to bring forward, but we hope that everyone will now be able to appreciate all of the benefits the new road brings.”
Durham County Council says it hopes the new road “will promote the local economy with potential investors and visitors who were previously deterred from visiting the area by the congestion caused by the old bridge.”
The ex-mining village of Leadgate, north east of Consett, is famous for the Roman road, now known as Durham Road, which runs right through its centre.
The Coast to Coast Cycle Route is a 140 mile route from Whitehaven or Workington in Cumbria to Tynemouth or Sunderland. It is claimed to be Britain’s most popular long-distance cycle route. It is the custom for cyclists to dip their back wheel in the sea on the west coast when they start the ride and their front wheel in the sea on the east coast when they finish.