Work has begun on a £4.5-million scheme to improve a vital County Durham junction.

The work – on Junction 61 of the A1 (M) at Bowburn – will see new lanes constructed and existing lanes widened to improve capacity. The roadworks will, however, result in some delays in the short term.

The improvements to Junction 61 are part of a larger project which will see the construction of 101 acres of industrial units and 270 new homes in the area.

The project – known as Integra 61 – will also see 8.5 acres of retail units established, including a hotel, a car dealership and possibly a care home and a GP’s surgery.

The work on the A1 (M) is being funded by Durham County Council, Highways England and Roadchef. The scheme will also see traffic lights installed at the junction near the Roadchef services to improve the flow of traffic and road safety around the A688 junction.

Junction 61 – which links the A1 (M), the A688 and the A177 south of Bowburn – is a vital intersection for businesses, local residents and motorists. Durham Motorway Services is located at the site and the junction connects many parts of County Durham.

The planned developments should see a rise in the number of vehicles using Junction 61 daily.

The leader of Durham County Council, Cllr Simon Henig, said, “We are committed to ensuring County Durham is a great place to live, work, visit and invest.”

“The Integra 61 development has the potential to attract over 4,000 jobs in the industrial and logistics sector, so it is important that road infrastructure improvements take place as good transport links are crucial when attracting investment to the region.”

The council’s strategic traffic manager, Dave Wafer, said, “Delays are to be expected so we would like to apologise for any disruption caused and advise drivers to take extra care observing the speed limits and signs on site.”

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(The featured image shows Durham County Council’s strategic traffic manager Dave Wafer at the Integra 61 site.)

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