ROADWORKS on a major roundabout in the district have suffered a delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Highways England said the project, on the A69 Bridge End roundabout near Hexham, will reduce congestion for the thousands of drivers who use the route every day.

However, the project hasn’t escaped the impact of the pandemic.

The new roundabout was due to open at the end of March 2021, but socially distanced working, inconsistent ground conditions and a protected bird species remaining nested for longer than expected caused delays.

New turnarounds have been introduced and signage has been upgraded to improve driver understanding after pressure for safer measures from councillors, residents and motorists.

Around 194,000 tonnes of earth have been removed from the site which would fill the whole area of the Sele, in Hexham, if it was tipped in.

“Work is progressing well,” Highways England project manager Russell Mclean said.

“By introducing the turnarounds to create an extended junction we have minimised disruption for drivers.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman toured the site and saw work on the roundabout start to take shape.

He said: “I know that this Government investment for junction improvement here at Hexham has brought dozens of local jobs, will boost growth locally, improve safety and help lay the ground for my ultimate ambition for A69 improvements and dualling further west.”

The next phase will see engineers dig out the remaining earth and build the bridges that will carry the roundabout over the A69. The roadworks are now due to be complete next summer.