Full A1 southbound closures at Birtley for emergency works on 4m void to continue into next week

National Highways has announced that full southbound closures on the A1 (M) will continue into next week. The southbound road was closed overnight from Thursday into Friday for "investigations and remedial work". It comes after issues with mine workings and a large void were discovered close to the road.

The carriageway between junctions 68 and 65 will now be completely closed overnight tonight (Friday, May 24) and tomorrow (Saturday, May 25). This will be followed by further full overnight southbound closures between junctions 66 (Eighton Lodge) and 65 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night. At that point a two-lane closure will remain in place from junction 66 at Eighton Lodge to beyond junction 65 at Birtley.

The exit slip road at Birtley[1] will remain closed meaning there will be no access to the A1231 from the A1 southbound. Non-motorway traffic is being diverted to leave the A1 at junction 66. This comes after a "four-metre void" was discovered close to the road overnight on Wednesday, and there were significant delays throughout the day with one lane closed.

These delays are set to continue, highways bosses said. Engineers working on the pre-existing works at the Birtley to Coal House scheme (junctions 65 to 67) discovered what was described as "mine workings" overnight. The "void" was then discovered - and though it has been filled and made safe, National Highways personnel are now to further investigate the issue and carry out permanent repairs.

The agency warned: "Significant delays are expected so please consider alternative routes or not travelling unless absolutely necessary. We will continue to issue updates as it becomes clear how long the closures will be needed for." National Highways Project Manager Helen Burrow said that the closures were necessary to "keep everybody safe".

She added: "We're working to have the road fully reopened as soon as it's safe to do so. "We're continuing to carry out further exploratory work and, at the moment, anticipate that the repairs will continue into next week. We'll continue to share progress updates as we get a clearer picture of how long the closures will need to remain in place.

"We appreciate road users have already experienced delays, especially during peak times, but the closures are essential to make sure everybody gets to their destination safely. While they're in place, we strongly advise everyone to plan ahead and allow plenty of extra time to travel. "People may wish to avoid the area entirely, plan alternative routes if possible, and avoid travelling during the busiest periods."

The National Highways customer contact centre is also available at 0300 123 5000 or email [email protected][2]


  1. ^ Birtley (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)
  2. ^ [email protected] (www.chroniclelive.co.uk)