Plans to build a long-awaited Darlington relief road took a step closer after a £250m funding package was approved. 

The much-anticipated bypass involves linking the A66 with the A1(M) to the north of Darlington

The Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA), which signed off the plans today (Friday, January 26) said the Darlington North Link Road is needed to ease heavy traffic on the A1150 and A167 through the north of Darlington. 

Transport officers say the new road would provide a better link between County Durham and the Tees Valley, including Teesside Airport and the Freeport. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: Potential Darlington relief road routes Potential Darlington relief road routes (Image: The Northern Echo)

It is also expected to reduce the severance effect currently experienced by residents who live near the A1150, at Whinfield, and A167, on North Road. 

The two areas previously identified for the scheme to be built were located near Brafferton or through Skerningham. However, a previously completed business case is now deemed to be outdated and a new one will take place. 

Money used to fund the scheme is due to come from the government, after it scrapped the northern leg of HS2 last year. 

Funding for the Darlington Link Road is the biggest allocation out of TVCA’s £1bn transport package.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Darlington plays an essential role as a gateway to Tees Valley and it is therefore vital that we deliver excellent connections to Teesside, Hartlepool and the rest of the country.

“We’ve already seen incredible progress on the redevelopment of Darlington Railway Station and this package of improvements to rail, bus and road links will further deliver on our plan to drive high quality well-paid jobs and investment in the town.”

Darlington’s MP Peter Gibson has campaigned for the relief road since he was elected in 2019. 

Reacting to the approval, he said: “I am delighted that the leaders of our local authorities have seen sense to approve the ambitious plans for transport investment in our region and I am over the moon that the Darlington northern link road, which I have been campaigning on for over five years, will be delivered, ending the congestion in the north of our town and improving connectivity access the region. 

“Our region is truly being levelled up with investment we've not had since the Victorian era.”

Paul Howell MP, who Sedgefield constituency will also benefit from the new road, added: "I have seen how the continual growth of traffic has blighted that part of Darlington and I see the frustrations of the businesses in Newton Aycliffe and elsewhere trying to import or export through Teesport. The need for this relief road is clear and obvious.”