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Boldon and Tilesheds level crossings: Proposed 'road over rail' bridge option


  1. Overview
  2. Full barriers option
  3. Proposed 'road over rail' bridge option
  4. Give feedback

Proposed 'road over rail' bridge option

With the support of Network Rail, South Tyneside Council has explored and developed a scheme as an alternative to the full barriers, and that option is a 'road over rail' bridge.

The option of a bridge will: 

  • remove the safety risks and allow for better traffic movement in the area
  • allow for both level crossings to be permanently closed 
  • give Network Rail the ability to expand the frequency of trains on the network if they need to do so in the future

In order to explore the road over rail bridge option further it has been necessary to undertake a detailed feasibility study, incorporating many considerations on the overall footprint of a structure, including:

  • potential land take
  • buildability
  • cost factors
  • wildlife and environmental factors

Any scheme of this type will be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment and will ultimately be subject to planning consent. It is at this point where the public can show official support or objection to the scheme.

Current and next steps

South Tyneside Council is now in a position to show the proposed road over rail bridge scheme as an alternative option to the full barrier system proposed by Network Rail.

As we move forward toward the design stages, the Council would welcome feedback from the public and other interested parties as to the proposals. Any relevant feedback will be considered as part of the detailed design process.

It will be necessary to proceed with the full detailed design to allow for a planning application to be submitted in the future.

Traffic flow predictions

The predicted benefits to the flow of traffic on the network can be seen on the videos below in the morning and afternoon peak:

The videos show:

  • Western bridge scenario at the morning peak (8am) and afternoon peak (5pm)
  • New roundabout replaces signals at New Road / Boker Lane (format to be confirmed)
  • The new link bridging over the rail line
  • New northern roundabout ties new road alignment with Boldon Road

Proposed layout

Map of the proposed bridge location showing the scheme layout: 

Proposed layout889.42KB

Proposed structure

A typical example drawing of how the proposed bridge structure may look (subject to design): 

Proposed bridge structure339.74KB

Example images

Computer generated typical examples of how the proposed bridge may look (subject to design): 

Proposed timeline 

Subject to planning permission construction is planned to begin in January 2022 and would be complete in March 2023.

ActivityProposed date
GI survey commencementSeptember to October 2020
Communications process / feedbackOctober to November 2020
Design and build processesNovember 2020 to July 2021
Planning application stagesAugust 2021 to December 2021
Proposed construction phase (subject to planning processes)January 2022 to March 2023

Why is the scheme needed?

Network Rail had already identified the need to upgrade these two-level crossings from the existing half barriers to full barrier operation to improve safety and prevent misuse. 

Full barriers will take significantly longer to operate (i.e. increased barrier downtime) and therefore lead to increased delays and congestion, the impact of this will be traffic finding alternative routes in the area. 

In order to demonstrate the potential implications of the full barrier systems at the crossings against that of the bridge proposal, this site includes computer generated traffic models. The implications on the highway traffic can be seen from the videos, see full barriers option.

What will happen and when? 

Ground investigation works have begun on site to help understand ground conditions for a potential new bridge structure.

Following the communications process, the design process will commence with a view to submitting an application to planning in August 2021.

Any feedback from the public in relation to the scheme will be taken into consideration where possible during the design process.

As part of the design process there will be the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will inform much of the design and dictate requirements for the scheme.  This EIA will be included as part of the planning submission for consideration for consent in August 2021.
As part of the planning application process, the public can object, show support or comment at this time and these concerns will be taken into consideration by the planning authority.

Subject to gaining planning consent, works on site will commence in January 2022 and are planned to complete in March 2023.

Why has there been limited communications so far on the proposed bridge option? 

The route of the proposed bridge has only recently been determined. There has been a requirement to undertake extensive feasibility works and the scheme has been subject to a detailed appraisal process. No actual detailed design has been undertaken up to this point and therefore no further information has been available to disseminate.

We are now able to show the public and other interested bodies the option of the bridge in order to receive feedback and comments, the Council will respond to all requests for information and consider all comments submitted. Updates on progress will be added to this website and interested parties could be added to a regular update communications email.

Why has this route been selected?

The route has been selected after a long and detailed feasibility process undertaken by consultants AECOM on behalf of South Tyneside Council.  Various options were looked at in detail, but the option presented was deemed the most viable and deliverable.

The selection process included a detailed appraisal of the following categories:

  1. Overall Scheme Objectives
  2. Environment
  3. Deliverability and feasibility
  4. Economy
  5. People and Communities

The results from the route appraisal, in addition to the comments received from the planning authority and Natural England, provided a clear indication that the option presented  would fit the aims of the scheme.

What impact is this likely to have on the environment? 

The route appraisal study takes into consideration the environmental impacts of the proposed bridge option.

Due to the location of the scheme, the loss of trees and/or hedgerows is inevitable, but this will be mitigated as far as is practicably possible.  The impact of this will be determined via the Environmental Impact Assessment and proposals will need to be submitted as compensation for any loss as a consequence.  These proposals will need to be enough to compensate for any losses and will be closely scrutinised during the planning application consideration

The proposed route will go through what is deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the SSSI is in very poor condition and the route crosses over a small section of this. It is proposed that this loss will be compensated for by identifying a suitable area close by for improvement.

Natural England has been consulted in relation to the overall scheme proposals.  All feedback and comments have been taken into consideration in the process of defining the selected route to ensure the optimum route is adopted.  Any proposed scheme put forward at the planning stage needs to demonstrate that the comments of Natural England have been considered.

The Tilesheds pond is not affected by the scheme.  The method of working will take into consideration the location of the pond to ensure that it does not suffer any detriment during the works.

With regard to the location of nearby homes, it is not believed that the proposed scheme will have any detrimental effect, either visually and from a noise perspective. However, should the Environmental Impact Assessment identify this as a factor, then compensation measures would be adopted as a consequence.

In relation to wildlife, such as Great Crested Newts which are known to be present in the pond to the side of the existing Boldon Lane crossing, the Environmental Impact Assessment will identify the presence of any wildlife in the immediate vicinity and surrounding area and the relevant actions that must to put into practice.

With regard to air quality, the bridge proposal will allow for traffic to move freely in the area and mitigate the impact of idling traffic waiting at the level crossings. The full barrier proposals will see longer delays and increased congestion which will lead to the increased NO2 emissions from vehicles. 

Who is funding this and how much does it cost?

South Tyneside Council is looking to secure the funding via the North East Transforming Cities funding programme, this programme is a 3 ½ year programme of works and still subject to detailed business case submissions. South Tyneside Council will also make a financial contribution.

Network Rail will financially support either the bridge option or the full barrier option. Both options help improve the safety and performance of their rail line. 

The cost for the bridge works is estimated to be approx. £14.5 - 15.5m, this is subject to detailed design processes.

Next page: Give feedback



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