A19 Downhill Lane junction improvement

Downhill Lane improvement will provide extra capacity on the junction between the A19 and the A1290 in Sunderland, supporting the regional economy and plans for the development of International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

Start date Started
End date 2022/2023
Cost £51.6 million

Latest updates

  • 16 March 2022

    Ceremony celebrates scheme officially opening to traffic

    The Downhill Lane £51.6 million upgrade of the A19 near Sunderland is the latest National Highways improvement to open to traffic in the North East.

    Today the official opening was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

    Minister for Roads Baroness Vere of Norbiton said:
    “I’m delighted to see this multi-million pound scheme open for traffic. Our funding will provide a fantastic boost for the North East’s economy, make it easier for millions of people in the region to get around, and is a great example of how this Government is levelling up the country by enabling better access to opportunities and employment."

    The A19 project has seen the construction of a full roundabout at the junction and improvements made to the existing A19. New traffic signals have been installed at the junction, a new road bridge has been installed and a bridge provided for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

    National Highways has also improved the adjoining rights of way helping to support and encourage non-polluting and healthier travel options.

    The improved access off the A19 encourages drivers to stay on the strategic road, more suited to moving larger volumes of traffic, and off the local highway network, improving the environment for those that live and work in the area.

    Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, South Tyneside Council, said:

    “It’s fantastic to see this work completed and for drivers to start experiencing the benefits of this scheme. “The A19 is the economic artery linking South Tyneside to the wider region and beyond, and these improvements are a major boost.
    “As well as increasing capacity, reducing congestion and improving connectivity to the local road network, this scheme is vital to promote economic growth and to ensure that we can unlock the full potential of the IAMP and other employment and investment opportunities.”
    Located next to the Nissan plant, IAMP is a joint venture between Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council to offer a place for advanced manufacturing and an attractive location for national and international investment.

    Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said:
    “We are pleased to support the A19 Downhill Lane junction improvement scheme that Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils have been working hard to develop. It’s great to see that one of the schemes key aims is to increase sustainable walking and cycling links to the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) via a linked pedestrian bridge across the A19. We also commend the project team on their efforts to make carbon savings by re-purposing existing road materials on the development.

    “The works will bring tremendous socio-economic benefit to the region by greatly improving access to a number of large manufacturing plants in the North East, meaning there will be better connectivity to key employment sites, as well as creating thousands of new jobs through the extension of the IAMP- something which will move us closer to achieving our vision of becoming a green, healthy, dynamic and thriving North East.”

    More than half a million people hours were worked on the A19 Downhill Lane project, with 60 per cent of the workforce made up from locally based staff.

    Some £3 million of savings were achieved by delivering the project at the same time as the work on A19 Testo’s Junction, and £150,000 was saved reusing materials such as the stone from the site access roads at Testo’s.

    In addition, 100,000 tonnes of earth were re-used from the £75m A19 / A1058 Coast Road scheme delivered in 2019, while 44,000 cubic metres of material were re-used at Washington Road.

    The new steel bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians weighs 550-tonnnes.

    Just under 600 steel columns were installed as part of the foundations for the new road bridge, which is 37 metres long and 14.5 metres wide.

  • 14 October 2021

    Flythrough video showing traffic restrictions until end of work

    We've created a video simulation to explain how traffic movements will be restricted until the end of the scheme next year. 

    The next change to traffic layout will come into effect on 25 October.

    Please follow all signs and instructions and take care as the changes come into force.


  • 24 August 2021

    Progress update - August 2021

    Eye-catching new drone images are showing the significant progress made on the A19 Downhill Lane scheme.

    Overhead view of progress August 2021

    Work is progressing smoothly on the installation of the first of two new crossings over the A19, with latest images showing bridge beams in place for the one which will allow drivers to travel over the dual carriageway.

    Construction on a second footbridge, for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, will start soon.

    On the west side of the junction, work on making better connections to and from the Nissan plant has been progressed further, including a permanent link to Follingsby Lane.

    The southbound slip road taking traffic from Downhill Lane junction onto the A19 is expected to open in the autumn. Until that point, there will be some weekend road closures over the coming weeks, as work begins to lift the non-motorised footbridge into place and other improvements are carried out.

    As work continues there will be ongoing lane closures, as well as a planned full A19 carriageway closures during the weekend of Friday 3 September, from 8pm to 6am on Monday 6 September, including:
    • Southbound between the Testo’s and Hylton junctions
    • Washington Road full carriageway
    • Northbound Downhill Lane (up and over diversion)

    Further A19 weekend closures are expected during September and October.

    Between Monday 13 September and Thursday 16 September the north slip road at the A19 Downhill Lane junction will be closed for surfacing work.

    We always try to stick to our published closures but sometimes weather and other factors mean that dates can change.

    For more information about closures and the scheme follow @HighwaysNEAST



  • 08 July 2021

    New overbridges set to improve safety - first bridge lifts 9-12 July 2021

    Work on the scheme has reached a key milestone as two new crossings are set to be connected.

    Engineers will install the bridge beams for two new crossings over the A19;
    • one of which will allow drivers to travel over the dual carriageway,
    • and the other, a footbridge for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

    A series of weekend closures will take place over the coming months to install the new crossing, as well as carrying out other improvements, with the first taking place this weekend (9-12 July).

    A full northbound carriageway closure along the A19 between the Hylton junction (A19/A1231) and Downhill Lane will be in place from 8pm Friday 9 July and 6am on Monday 12 July, as well as a full southbound carriageway closure along the A19 between the Testo’s and Hylton junctions during the same time.

    Downhill Lane aerial shot looking east
    We appreciate this important work may cause some disruption to drivers and we'd like to thank everyone for their continued patience while we carry out these improvements which will have long term future benefits.

  • 26 January 2021

    Continuing work and adjusting the contraflow

    Work continues to progress well. So far we have adjusted the contraflow and moved it further south to create more room for the ongoing work at Downhill Lane. These changes have extended the working area by 1.5 miles and mean that the A19 Testo’s and Downhill Lane projects can be delivered as one scheme, reducing delays and minimising the impact on drivers. Our next step is to build up the earthworks on the eastern side of the junction, where the new connection to Washington Road will be.

    We have been working closely with officials at Sunderland City Council who have agreed that we can completely close Washington Road to traffic from 1 February for up to 10 weeks.

    We need to do this for the following reasons:

    Cost and time efficiencies

    Working with a full closure will reduce the overall timescale of the scheme.


    This closure will create a dedicated work area that is not accessible to anyone not actively working on this site. It will also mean that the layout of closures and diversions will remain constant and will not change, reducing the risk of confusion.

    Reducing environmental impact

    we will be able to reuse the materials we dig out without needing to transport it or store it elsewhere.

    We do not anticipate any significant disruption to road users, however we recognise that residents of Ferryboat Lane may see a small increase in local traffic using their road as a diversion.

  • 08 October 2020

    How we’ll carry out our work

    We’ll carry out our work in four phases and it’ll take around 18 months to complete. We’ve just published our start of work brochure which gives full details of each phase of our work.

    We’re currently in phase one of the work which started in September and will carry on until spring 2021.

    We’ll construct new drainage in the verges next to the A19. We’ll also strengthen the central reserve so that traffic can run on it and remove the existing islands either side of the junction.

    During all phases of the work, if you’re travelling to or from Boldon, you’ll be diverted at Downhill Lane East onto the A19 and through Testo’s junction.

  • 17 September 2020

    We’ve started work

    We started work on our A19 Downhill Lane junction improvement scheme on 14 September 2020.

    This scheme forms part of a wider strategy to upgrade the A19 and A1 in the north east, and will support the government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda – helping create a transport system that’s an engine for economic growth.

    We have designed this improvement to deliver benefits for road users, local communities and to support the region’s economy.  On completion it will help with economic growth, connectivity with the local road network, improve safety and reduce congestion.

    As work progresses, you will notice more activity on the areas around Downhill Lane, Washington Road and the A1290.  Our team will also be amending the traffic management that is currently in place on the A19. 

    Over the next few weeks you’ll see our workers start installing safety barriers, clearing vegetation and build new fencing.  We will also be removing some of the existing signs, street lighting and installing temporary traffic management.

    The following closures will be in operation:

    Monday 21 to Thursday 24 September - between 8pm and 6am

    • A19 northbound full closure between Hylton and Downhill
    • A19 southbound lane 2 closure Testo to Downhill
    • A19 northbound entry slip road at Hylton closed
    • A19 northbound exit slip at Downhill closed

    Monday 28 September to Thursday 1 October - between 8pm and 6am

    • A19 northbound full closure Hylton to Downhill
    • A19 southbound lane 2 closure Testo to Downhill
    • A19 northbound entry slip at Hylton closed
    • A19 northbound exit slip at Downhill closed
    • A184 full closure Testos to BMW showroom

    Monday 5 to Thursday 8 October - between 8pm and 6am

    • A19 northbound full closure Hylton to Downhill
    • A19 southbound lane 2 closure Testo to Downhill
    • A19 northbound entry slip at Hylton closed
    • A19 northbound exit slip at Downhill closed
    • A184 full closure Testos to BMW showroom

    All our sites have strict safeguarding measures, in line with Public Health England guidance, to prevent the spread of COVID19 and none of our sites are open to the public.

    You can see further information on our Twitter feed @HighwaysNEAST with the hashtag #A19DownhillLane.

  • 12 August 2020

    Development Consent Order (DCO) granted

    A new bridge will be constructed to the south of the existing bridge over the A19, creating a more traditional roundabout layout above the A19. 

    New link roads will also be created between Downhill Lane junction and the new Testo's junction improvement currently being constructed less than a mile to the north of the Downhill Lane site.

    Together these schemes will support economic growth in the region, improve journey times and provide new facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. 

    The Development Consent Order - the planning legislation giving consent for a project to go ahead - has now been granted.

  • 06 January 2020

    Development Consent Order (DCO) examination period

    On 20 December 2019 the Examining Authority responsible for deciding on the Development Consent Order (DCO) made a request for further information and changes to the timetable for the A19 Downhill Lane Junction Improvement Examination.

    The DCO is in the examination period, meaning that the Planning Inspectorate has up to six months to carry out the examination. During this stage interested parties who have registered by making a relevant representation are invited to provide more details of their views in writing. Careful consideration is given by the Examining Authority to all the important and relevant matters including the representations of all interested parties, any supporting evidence submitted and answers provided to the Examining Authority’s questions set out in writing or posed at hearings.

    The DCO process is continuing with responses to the additional questions due by 7 January 2020. Interested parties will have been contacted direct and invited to respond by 14 January 2020.

Project information

Give us your feedback

Visit our A19 Downhill Lane junction improvement feedback tool to have your say. The tool includes an interactive map. You can click on a location to make a specific comment, or give us your general feedback.

ECHO is a one-way feedback tool, so if you’d like a response to your feedback you can email the project team at: A19DownhillLaneJunctionImprovement@nationalhighways.co.uk

Echo map

The improvement scheme is designed to support plans to extend the IAMP development which is a joint venture between Sunderland and South Tyneside Councils. It will be located across the Councils’ boundaries north of the Nissan car plant, alongside the A19 to the west of Downhill Lane junction. The two local authorities have a shared ambition to develop a high quality strategic employment site for advanced manufacturing that will attract national and international business investment and facilitate job creation.  

The IAMP is predicted to create up to 7850 new jobs and attract £295 million investment by 2026/27. The junction at Downhill Lane will provide access to the strategic road network from the IAMP. 

The preferred route for Downhill Lane is the construction of a new bridge to the south of the existing (A1290) bridge across the A19. Together with the existing bridge this would form a more traditional roundabout junction layout above the A19. The existing north-bound and south-bound A19 slip roads would be realigned to tie in with the new elevated roundabout. To the north of the junction, these would serve as link roads between Downhill Lane junction and the proposed new Testo's junction roundabout. The slip roads south of the junction would provide direct access to and from the A19. 

The scheme would provide improved connectivity with the local road network. Facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders would be enhanced by providing a separate non-motorised user bridge over the A19 and Washington Road. 

The objectives of this scheme are to: 

  • support economic growth 
  • provide a safe and serviceable road network 
  • provide a more free-flowing road network 
  • improve the environment 
  • provide an accessible and integrated road network 


Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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