The next phase of a development which is set to bring more than 3,000 jobs and an economic boost of nearly half a billion pounds begins this week.
Durham County Council is to start the next phase of work to expand Aycliffe Business Park – already the largest site of its kind in the region – onto the 52-hectare Forrest Park site in Newton Aycliffe.
The site, for which the Local Enterprise Partnership has provided £13m funding, is hoped be the subject of a £140m private sector development including a potential rail freight interchange
It is estimated the site could see the creation of 3,200 jobs and deliver a Gross Value Added (GVA) boost of £495m over the next 20 years.
Preparatory groundworks began last year. The enabling works are now set to continue with the creation of a new traffic light controlled junction on the A167 – for better access to both the new site and the business park.
Work on the junction and resurfacing of an adjoining stretch of the A167 begins on Thursday night.
The southbound dual carriageway of the road will be resurfaced between its junctions with the B6444 St Andrew’s Way and the A1(M) junction 59 interchange, with that section of road closed to allow the work to take place from 8pm to 6am both Thursday and Friday nights.
Diversions will be in operation via the B6444, the A6072 and the A68, with signs in place to inform drivers.
Leader of the council Cllr Simon Henig said: “The development of the Forrest Park site has the potential to bring thousands more jobs to County Durham and could be worth almost half a billion pounds for our economy.
“It’s therefore really exciting for us to be moving onto the next phase of the enabling works with the building of the new junction which will make access to both the site and the business park easier.
“We appreciate there will be some disruption for motorists while this work is carried out but we will do all we can to keep this to a minimum and we’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding in advance.”
The preparatory works also involve the building of a new internal link road and a power substation.