Mayor unveils ?1bn transport plan for Teesside, Darlington and …

A huge package of vital transport projects to transform the region has been revealed by the Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, following a funding boost of £1bn from the scrapping of HS2.

This represents the largest investment of money by the mayor in six years in office, with the money being earmarked to improve road, rail and bus travel across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool.

Following a number of projects already made public, the mayor announced today (Monday 15th January) at an event held at Middlesbrough Station, a headline pledge to bring 15 electric trackless trams to serve Middlesbrough, Redcar, Stockton, Hartlepool, and Darlington town centres.

This was joined by a £60m allocation of cash to revolutionise travel in the region by investing in transport technology to reduce traffic and journey times for drivers as well as building the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles. Money has also been pencilled in for and the A689 road scheme between Hartlepool and Stockton, alongside money for the next phase of a new Tees flyover.

This joins money for a park and ride facility and transport hub as part of a £40million overhaul of South Bank railway station to make it full accessible to service the thousands of local jobs being created on the Teesworks site.

A £20m boost for British Steel lorry park has also been promised in the wake of the announcement that a return of steelmaking is on the way – with £40million to boost efforts to complete vital gauge clearance work for freight on the Eaglescliffe to Northallerton railway line also supporting the development of trade through the Teesside Freeport.

Subject to Cabinet approval, a much-needed relief road to help ease Darlington’s rush-hour blues will also receive a £250m boost as well as £30m for the revitalisation of Middlesbrough’s iconic Transporter Bridge. Middlesbrough will also see vital work on the A66 commence.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We have an ambitious package of improvements planned which will revolutionise travel across Teesside, Darlington, and Hartlepool. Not only will these projects make a positive difference to everyone’s day to day travel, but they will also boost our continued plan to make our region an economic powerhouse with access to good, well-paid, long-term jobs.

“Be it at Darlington Station, Middlesbrough Station, or at our airport, we can show a record of delivery – but now we can offer the promise of much, much more for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”

A new train station, and bus interchange for Teesside Park and the Tees Marshalling Yards, at Stockton, will also receive £150m, while £20m will be put into rebuilding Teesside Airport railway station.

Money has also been set aside to assure Middlesbrough’s third platform is fully funded at pace, paving the way for more direct trains to London. The £40m would provide a new platform and additional track and signalling to enable increased use of the carriage sidings.

By Mark Adair[1] – Correspondent, Bdaily

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