It is all well and good to say cyclists currently face a five mile journey via the city centre and creating a direct route using the Belmont Viaduct will cut the journey to less than two miles. So what about the majority of other road users, who have to travel through Durham to reach employers further away? Cyclists make up a small percentage of road users in the city centre and opening up this route will be of little benefit in the winter months without adequate lighting and closed circuit television. £20,000 is an excessive amount of money to spend on a feasibility study, when many of us who still recall the former Durham City Northern Bypass route, utilised the viaduct benefiting not just the cyclist, pedestrian or horse rider, but the motorist as well. The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor for example, will provide not only a road link, but cycleway, footpath and bridleway alongside as well. If Darlington can do it, why can?t we? It would make more sense and has been achieved in part in the past. The Newton Cap Viaduct, also part of the former Newcastle to Bishop Auckland railway line and of the same age has been successfully converted to road use. Following the former Durham City Northern Bypass plan, which used the viaduct as the river crossing, I have changed the proposal and labeled it the red route. The current Outer Route I have labled the Blue Route.
Commencing on the A1(M), at Junction 62 the current A1(M) Northbound entry and Southbound exit slips are closed off and extended to a new dumbbell / roundabout interchange to the north. (A similar junction layout example is on the M1 at Junction 46) The new interchange would provide new entry and exit slips for motorway traffic and continue to provide access to the current Junction 62.
At the new junction the relief road would then continue in a westerly direction, crossing the Belmont Viaduct and following the disused line in a cutting to allow migrating birds to safely access the Frankland Clay Pit Lake, with an overpass for the Weardale Way and cycle network. The road would then continue through open fields in a again in a cutting, to minimize the visual impact from Newton Hall, to the west of Low Newton Farm and connect with a new traffic signal junction on Finchale Avenue and provide crossing for pedestrian, cyclists and horse riders, where the present underpass is closed to private motor vehicles. The new road would then run north and curve under the railway and continue west to the Red House Roundabout. The alignment of the red route does not come in to contact with the Low Newton Junction (Newton Hall Junction) Nature Reserve or would require mass clearance works that the present outer route does.
The Blue Route, present proposed outer route, runs through the site of the nature Reserve and calls for a new bridge and non grade separated roundabout on the A690. The bridge site is located on step banks and has woods on both sides and constructing a non grade separated roundabout on the A690 will be an additional bottle neck. The inner routes also require a new bridge are of little benefit to residents on both sides of the river and would not affect the area around Crook Hall.