DRIVERS in East Tynedale are facing looming traffic chaos due to a network of road closures and delays implemented by two different councils.

On Monday, Gateshead Council began work on building a roundabout between Prudhoe and Crawcrook, where the the existing T- junction is between the A695 and the B6395.

But on the first day of the work, drivers faced delays of up to an hour, after a fault with the sequencing of the temporary traffic lights.

And from next Monday, Ovingham Bridge will be closed to vehicles for three weeks, with Northumberland County Council pointing motorists to Wylam Bridge and Crawcrook as a diversion route – in the direction of the roadworks at the roundabout.

The roundabout is being built due to a planning condition, placed on Gentoo Homes by Northumberland County Council, in connection with its 404-home Cottier Grange development in Prudhoe.

While Gentoo is funding the work, Gateshead Council is carrying it out as a contractor for Gentoo and has said it will last up to 16 weeks.

A Gateshead Council spokesman apologised for the delays on Monday.

He added: “It is inevitable that work of this nature will cause some delays and we ask motorists for their patience while we attempt to carry out these works as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Prudhoe county councillor Gordon Stewart said he had received complaints about the “massive disruption” to people travelling on the road.

Meanwhile, Northumberland County Council said the work on Ovingham Bridge needed to be done during the school holidays because traffic was lighter. The pedestrian section would be removed and replaced in sections, allowing pedestrians to use the road bridge until it fully reopened on September 1.

“If it wasn’t done this summer it would need to be put back by a further 12 months,” a spokesman added.

“While we don’t anticipate our diversion route will cause any significant further issues, we will monitor it closely throughout the works.”

Courant Opinion – p22