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Old September 20th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #21
leauk
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We go to Blackpool once a year so travel west of Hexham then, up to the M6.
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Old September 20th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leauk View Post
We go to Blackpool once a year so travel west of Hexham then, up to the M6.
Yes, we have relatives in Carlisle, so have the same problem. Fortunately, as said, the bulk of my trips end at Hexham.
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Old September 21st, 2010, 12:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leauk View Post
We go to Blackpool once a year so travel west of Hexham then, up to the M6.
I always find the A66/A685 is a far better route across to the M6. Especially when heading to Blackpool.
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Old September 22nd, 2010, 06:38 PM   #24
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Building the Newcastle Western Bypass (1987-1990)
Part 3


Department of Transport Newsletter Number One : Newcastle Western Bypass.

DATE - January 1987.










.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; October 2nd, 2010 at 12:14 PM.
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Old September 23rd, 2010, 12:48 AM   #25
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excellent again NH.

Really enjoying this series.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #26
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Building the Newcastle Western Bypass (1987-1990)
Part 4


Principally concerning CONTRACTS 1, 1A, 3 and 4 : Newcastle Western Bypass.


DATE - During 1987.


The Newcastle Western By-pass was listed in the Department of Transports Policy for Roads, England 1980, to link the A69 to the A1(M) to the south.

An extension of the by-pass to the north was proposed by Tyne & Wear County Council.

This was one of the more recent improvements of the A1, and it came after the demise of the Road Construction Units and in a time when government policy brought about the transfer of work from counties to consulting engineers.

This scheme was awarded to Bullen and Partners.

When they took over in 1981 the scheme had been in preparation for about four years although the route was first suggested in 1936 and a corridor was reserved in the development plan for the area in 1945. Residential development then took place on either side of the corridor.

It was a good example of a far sighted planning judgement long before the days of sophisticated traffic forecasting and cost benefit analysis.

After public consultations, a preferred route had been announced in 1981 which linked the Great North Road near Gosforth to Scotswood Bridge across the Tyne. Soon after work started on the scheme, some improvements were made to the design would be worthwhile.

In particular, Scotswood Bridge was not in very good condition and the approach roads on the south bank, connecting to the Gateshead Western By-pass were tortuous, substandard for the expected traffic flows. A re-alignment was proposed with a new bridge crossing of the Tyne and a new length of road to the south, providing a much better connection near Gateshead.

In due course, after much analysis and scrutiny, the Department accepted this proposal and thus was Blaydon Bridge conceived.



The 11km by-pass joins the present trunk roads north and south of Newcastle and Gateshead connecting with the key radial routes from the West such as the A69 and A696. The scheme relieving the existing Tyne Bridge, removed traffic from the town improving the environment, and assisted in the planned urban regeneration.

The alignment follows the western edge of the Newcastle / Gateshead conurbation, from the former A69 River Derwent bridge to the A1 north to the Gosforth area in Newcastle.

Blaydon Bridge was to be the latest addition to a collection of notable Tyne bridges for which Newcastle is justly famous, and there are seven grade separated interchanges to give access to the existing road network.

The by-pass was designed to carry 50,000 vehicles per day and is dual two lane, with a third lane on each carriageway between interchanges from Scotswood Road to Ponteland Road. All the interchanges are two level and access is via slip roads.

Permanent road signs on gantries and at the side of the road show primary destinations for drivers. Lighting has been provided along the entire length of the by-pass.

It was predicted that the reduction of traffic on adjacent roads would prevent at least two fatalities and thirty serious injuries every year. Ten footbridges and subways separate pedestrians from the traffic on the by-pass and its side roads.

Before construction started, 1200 homes were provided with noise insulation. Earth bunds and concrete screening walls were constructed to reduce traffic noise and there has been extensive planting of trees and shrubs. Although the corridor had been protected for the scheme, designing the road to modern standards required the demolition of 66 houses.

On a historic note, where the route crosses the remains of Hadrians Wall, in conjunction with English Heritage, stone sets and a plaque were provided to mark the line of the wall.

The importance of nature conservation is also reflected in the scheme. At Derwentaugh the embankment has been founded on a 2 m layer of inert rock to prevent contamination of the adjacent Shibdon Pond Nature Reserve.

Diversion of major services were carried out in advance of the main construction contracts at a cost of £12 million.

The total cost of the scheme was some £88 million of which £23 million was provided by the European Community's Regional Development Fund.

Because the project was so large and diverse the construction of the by-pass was divided into four contracts, Contracts 1 and 3 being awarded to Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd, Contract 2 was awarded to Edmund Nutall Ltd and Contract 4 went to Birse Construction Ltd.

Contract 4 was commenced by Birse in Feb 1987 as an advanced works contract in order to prepare a 1km long section of the Contract 3 route at Derwenthaugh, where 8m high embankments were to be constructed over deep deposits of soft alluvial silts and clays.

The purpose of the advanced earthworks was to squeeze the ground by surcharging and accelerate its settlement by drainage of water from the clay through vertical sand drains. During embankment construction, 24,000 vertical sand drains with a total length of 210km were installed on a grid layout with instrumentation for monitoring ground behaviour. Until the ground was sufficiently stabilised, the road could not properly be built and it was predicted that the process would take at least six months.

On 24th April 1987, the advance works commenced and the project was formally inaugurated by John Moore, who was Secretary of State for Transport at that time.

Contract 1 - Etal Lane to North Brunton started in August 1987. It comprises 5.6km of dual two lane road interchanges at North Brunton, Kingston Park and the A696 Ponteland Road. It was opened to traffic three months early on 1st March 1990 by Robert Atkins, MP, then the Minister for Roads and Traffic.

Contract 1A - Fawdon Railway Bridge. A scheme was proposed which took the road over one of the busy Newcastle Metro railway lines at Fawdon. This was much cheaper than putting the road underneath but required a length of embankment through a sensitive suburb.

At the public enquiry local residents and their councillors objected to this intrusion and in his report, the Inspector recommended that despite the increased cost, the underpass arrangement should be preferred, and so it was. Cementation were awarded the contract for its construction.



The main problem with inserting a bridge in a railway line is keeping the trains running without interruption. This usually means that the new bridge has to be rolled into position sideways and the line quickly reconnected during a short period when there are no trains. British Rail had employed them on several occasions, in particular during the construction of the M56 and the Weaver Viaduct.

In those days, the customary method involved supporting the rail tracks on steel beams across trenches or pits protected by sheet piling, in which the bridge foundations could be built below. The new deck would be built alongside on temporary tracks and rolled sideways, often on steel balls. During the 70's a new technique had developed, based on a system of thrust boring started by Jim Thompson and his firm, Tube Headings, who were ultimately merged with Cementation Projects Ltd.

Originally intended for jacking concrete pipes and subways, the system was developed and extended to railway bridge construction. Large square or rectangular concrete boxes, with steel cutting edges were constructed in pits below the railway line and installed under the track by progressive jacking and excavation using tunnelling methods.

Cementation had patented a simple but effective refinement, not hitherto spotted by their competitors. Friction was substantially reduced during the jacking process by progressively unrolling a reinforced rubber or plastic sheet, (for example, conveyor belting) between the top of the box and the soil. As a result, Cementation had successfully completed a number of bridges for British Rail and with their patented system, gained a near monopoly in this small but specialised market.

It was decided that the safest, surest and least expensive way of implementing the work would be for Cementation Projects to design and construct the bridge.

The Department of Transport were vigorously opposed to the idea that a contract should be let without competition. It took a lot of verbal and written persuasion to secure the required result. Ultimately, it was agreed that Bullens would employ Cementation as sub-contractors for the design and would retain full responsibility. Cementation would be managing contractors, with a negotiated fee but would sub-contract the whole of the civil engineering work by competitive tendering.

A contract was let on this basis in November 1987, the work proceeded well and the bridge was rolled in during March 1989, the programmed date, with no interruption to commuter services.


NB - The above details are reproduced here, "Courtesy of the Motorway Archive Trust". Details of the work in connection with CONTRACT 2 (Blaydon Bridge and Blaydon Haughs Viaduct) will be shown in a later part of this series.

.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; October 2nd, 2010 at 12:14 PM.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 04:25 PM   #27
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very interesting series .. and up to your usual great standards NH
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 12:03 PM   #28
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.
Building the Newcastle Western Bypass (1987-1990)
Part 5


Department of Transport : Newcastle Western Bypass Newsletter No 2 - July 1987.

and . .

Department of Transport : Newcastle Western Bypass Newsletter No 3 - May 1988.












.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; October 2nd, 2010 at 12:13 PM.
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Old October 2nd, 2010, 03:12 PM   #29
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excellent stuff once again - a real thorough look into what seems like such a long time ago but is only realyy 23 yrs ago!
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 04:51 PM   #30
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Does anyone know if there is any plans still to widen the A1 through Gateshead- a while ago it was mentioend they would increase it to 3 lanes- without actually widening it by creating (very) narrow lanes and reducing the speed limit. Is this still planned or is it all on hold until after the spending review? In reality when there is spending reductions any plans in the North East will be the first to be scrapped in order to keep the traffic in London and Moanchester- Leeds moving.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #31
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Building the Newcastle Western Bypass (1987-1990)
Part 6


Department of Transport : Newcastle Western Bypass Newsletter No 4 - August 1989

(incorporating a little bit of information about the other major road being built through Newcastle, at almost exactly the same time : The 'Woolsington Bypass'.)










ALSO . . . Additional information, courtesy of the "Motorway Archive Trust" . . .


Principally concerning CONTRACTS 2 & 3 : Newcastle Western Bypass.

DATES - 1987 to 1989 . . .


Contract 2

Blaydon Bridge and Blaydon Haughs Viaduct commenced in November 1987.

Blaydon Bridge . . . is a five-span pre-stressed concrete structure, constructed using the balanced cantilever technique, with a main navigation span over the Tyne of 108m.

Several possible designs were prepared, evaluated and compared. Some were discarded on account of unsatisfactory appearance and the final choice for the river bridge was between a steel cable stayed bridge and a prestressed concrete box structure.

The concrete alternative was thought to be slightly cheaper to build and was selected.



A similar comparison was made of designs for the approach viaduct and the final choice was a system of welded steel plate girders with a reinforced concrete deck.

At the end of the day, choosing the design for a major bridge structure is a matter of engineering judgement, perhaps influenced by personal preferences. Although it is essential to estimate quantities of materials and costs, other factors, including appearance and ease of building, are equally important.

Although the costs of the selected design when built are precisely known, the estimated cost of an unbuilt alternative concept remains theoretical and untested. Contractors are nowadays free to offer and alternative design at the tender stage and are frequently successful, as was the case for the Tweed bridge at Berwick.

When the job was put out to tender in August 1987 one firm offered a steel bridge but the purported price margin was slim, the appearance unsatisfactory and the projected costs of maintenance too high.

So Edmund Nuttall Ltd. were awarded the contract and commenced work in November 1987, working exactly to the contract drawings.

The inevitable unexpected happened during the excavation, in a cofferdam, for the southern main pier, whose foundation was planned to sit on sound sandstone rock below the river bed. In two corners, totalling about a quarter of the load bearing area, the rock was not good enough. It was broken up and mixed with sand and clay, probably the result of ancient glacial activity.

It was decided that the pier foundation would be strengthened by piling. The preferred solution was a large number of mini-piles using small drilling rigs which could operate from the bottom of the hole, inside the cofferdam.

The consequences of the unforeseen change of design were considerable. There could be a delay of about six months, prejudicing the 1990 completion date, and costs would increase substantially.

However, Edmund Nuttall Ltd were authorised to increase resources to recover lost time although this would incur further expense. The work proceeded satisfactorily, and the construction of the superstructure by cantilevering followed.

Blaydon Haughs Viaduct . . . is a 17-span steel viaduct carrying the by-pass over A695 Chainbridge Road and the Newcastle-Carlisle railway line.



It is 530m long and the deck incorporates 2,100 tonnes of structural steelwork, supported on 3,500 tonnes of steel H-piles.

Contract 3

Derwenthaugh to Etal Lane commenced in June 1988. This is the largest contract on the by-pass, extending north and south of the River Tyne and 40% of its £25 million tender value was for structures.

These included seven road bridges, eight footbridges, eight subways and over 3km of retaining walls. The wall of Scotswood slip road is 12m high and of ''reinforced earth'' construction using compacted pulverised fuel ash reinforced with polypropylene strips.

There are interchanges north of the Tyne at Stamfordham Road, the A69 West Road and Scotswood Road and south at the Tyne and Derwenthaugh Road.

Coal mining is an important feature of Tyneside's history and extensive old mine workings have been encountered along the by-pass route.

Shallow seams were excavated and filled with compacted soil and deeper workings drilled and injected with cement and pulverised fuel ash grout. Old mineshafts were filled and capped with reinforced concrete.



FINALLY - Here are some Newcastle Western Bypass construction photos from 1990, and a couple of pre-construction photos (from the planned route) from 1983.

ALL are from the "Old Pictures of Newcastle's West End" Website, on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Pi...1607278?ref=nf
. .

Here is the 'Copperas Lane' area of the proposed Newcastle Western Bypass route - in 1983 . .




and here is the same 'Copperas Lane' in 1990 . .



Three photos of the Western Bypass/West Road junction and roundabout, under construction in 1990. The first one is looking South . . .


and the next two are looking North . .




The Newcastle Western Bypass, under construction, approaches the (as yet unbuilt) BLAYDON BRIDGE . .


.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; October 10th, 2010 at 10:48 AM.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #32
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Excellent stuff, NH, and much appreciated.

The Blaydon Haughs section used to be notorious for an appalling rancid smell, which I believe came from the Co-operative Creamery thereabouts. And Blaydon Bridge is an appalingly dull design. Surely something carrying the A1 over the coaly Tyne should be a bit more of a landmark.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 11:41 PM   #33
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Wow NH, really interesting. I remember as a small child going to see the blaydon viaduct being constructed, (embarrassingly) asking to go look at the bridge being built on regular occasions! Its amazing to think that we take it for granted (and at the same time hate queuing across it) and its a relatively new road - imagine life without it, traffic through town would be even more unbearable!
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Old October 10th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #34
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Just thought I'd let you know that I have today added SEVEN new photos to my post of a few days ago (Part 6 of the 'Building of the Newcastle Western Bypass' Series) courtesy of the Old Photos of Newcastle's West End Website, on Facebook.

Also, THANKS very much for the comments, Wilf and kedos. They are very much appreciated, and I am glad you are enjoying the series.

The next part (Part 7) will be on this thread towards the end of the coming week . .
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Old October 10th, 2010, 06:52 PM   #35
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May I also add my appreciation.
As you know road building schemes are of a particular interest of mine.

Great stuff - I saw those pics on the Facebook page too but thanks for adding them here where they re very useful.
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Old October 14th, 2010, 10:04 PM   #36
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.
Building the Newcastle Western Bypass (1987-1990)
Part 7


The 7th and FINAL part in this series : December 1990 - the COMPLETION and OFFICIAL OPENING of the Newcastle Western Bypass.


1 - Two days after the official opening, the below 'Special Supplement' was issued by the Evening Chronicle on December 3rd 1990 . .



2 - Here are ALL the articles and photos, from that four-page supplement . .









The "Motorway Archive Trust" report on the Newcastle Western Bypass, also contains a short report on the Royal Opening . .

On December 1st 1990, Her Majesty the Queen, on her way to launch a ship at Wallsend, formally opened the Newcastle Western By-pass and unveiled a plaque, midspan over the River Tyne, at the boundary of Newcastle and Gateshead, to christen Blaydon Bridge.



Back to the Evening Chronicle Supplement . .
























Finally, the supplement also includes an article about the (associated) construction of the "Woolsington Bypass" during the same period . .




Well, I hope you enjoyed this 'seven-part' adaptation of the story of the building of the Newcastle Western Bypass from 1987 to 1990.

It is only a fairly new road, with a major new bridge as part of it, but it has so 'quickly' become a part of the Newcastle scenery, that many people just take it for granted . . . like it has "always been there"!

It was a major achievement though, and the manner in which it suddenly brought (for example) the MetroCentre to within ten or fifteen minutes drive of many parts of North Newcastle (it effectively REMOVED the River Tyne 'barrier') was quite amazing!

Finally - for ease of reading of the full story, here are LINKS to all seven parts in this series . . .

PART 1 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...1&postcount=10
PART 2 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...7&postcount=13
PART 3 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...5&postcount=24
PART 4 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...1&postcount=26
PART 5 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...3&postcount=28
PART 6 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...1&postcount=31
PART 7 - http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...7&postcount=36


Cheers,


.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 02:37 AM   #37
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Fantastic stuff.
Thanks very much.
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Old October 16th, 2010, 07:44 PM   #38
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I can see my house from here!

Great pictures. It's amazing to see what it was like back then
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Old October 18th, 2010, 07:29 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merleb View Post
Fantastic stuff.
Thanks very much.

You're welcome.

I wish I had more stuff on it really, but I've now used everything I've got!

Glad you enjoyed it.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #40
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The A1 is down to 50mph from 1st November and improvements to be made to the Dunston stretch.


Quote:
Road users will soon benefit from increased safety and improved traffic flows on the A1 Gateshead and Newcastle Western Bypass, the Highways Agency announced today.

Work to introduce a permanent 50mph speed limit on the road between Birtley Interchange and Blaydon Viaduct begins on Monday (November 1) and will take place in four phases. The work is expected to be completed in late November.

The new speed limit will come into force when new speed restriction signs are displayed on the completion of each phase. Evidence shows that reducing the speed on the bypass will minimise the 'stop/start' situations currently experienced on the road, and will help to reduce the number of accidents and delays caused by them. Traffic flow and journey time reliability will also be improved.

When the reduced speed limit is in place, the Highways Agency will begin work to increase the lanes on the A1 northbound carriageway beneath Dunston Road overbridge from two to three narrow lanes.

Highways Agency project manager, John Sheerin, said:

“This work will have a positive effect on traffic travelling along the Gateshead and Newcastle Western Bypass. The accident rate for this part of the A1 is double the national average. By reducing the speed limit we expect to reduce the number of accidents, improve the flow of traffic and improve journey time reliability along this section of the A1. The reduced speed limit will also allow us to provide an additional lane beneath Dunston Bridge, something we would not have been able to do for safety reasons if the 70mph had remained in place.”

Work to install the new signs will be carried out overnight from 8pm to 6am, from Monday, starting at the northern end of the scheme near Blaydon Viaduct. The 50mph speed limit will be introduced in four phases from north to south over the works period. Once the work is complete a permanent 50mph speed restriction will be in place on the A1 between Birtley Interchange and Blaydon Viaduct, and on the slip roads at each interchange. Advisory signs will be displayed on the approach to Birtley Interchange warning of a ‘new speed limit ahead’.

Following the introduction of the 50mph speed limit, the Highways Agency will begin work to increase the lanes on the A1 northbound carriageway beneath Dunston Road over bridge. When completed, it will provide three northbound lanes from Askew Road to the Metro Centre, smoothing traffic flow under the bridge. The slip road arrangement at Dunston Interchange will also be altered.

End
http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail...96&SubjectId=7

.

Last edited by Newcastle Historian; October 27th, 2010 at 12:06 PM.
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