Highways England has unveiled a £75m scheme to create the North East's first 'triple-deck' road junction at the congested Silverlink roundabout in North Tyneside.
The A19 will in future run underneath the junction, while the A1058 link between Newcastle upon Tyne and the Northumbrian coast already crosses it on a flyover.
A computer generated image of the junction
The north-south A19, which crosses the River Tyne at the Tyne Tunnel, serves three major retail and business parks, the Port of Tyne (a major car exporter) and much of South East Northumberland.
Highways England project manager Julie Alexander said: 'This scheme will improve journey times on the A19 for thousands of drivers who will no longer need to queue to enter the roundabout'.
Southbound peak-time delays can be as long as four minutes, and the accident rate is higher than the national average. Ms Alexander also forecast increased safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
The roundabout will continue to serve local journeys, including those generated by the Silverlink Retail Park, which experiences lengthy queues at weekends. Two new bridges will carry traffic across the lowered A19.
Work is due to start next month, with completion scheduled for 2018. Welcoming this 'long awaited improvement', the Freight Transport Association’s head of policy for northern England, Malcolm Bingham, told Transport Network: 'Larger goods vehicles cost operators around £1 per minute just standing still.
‘While the average time saving according to Highways England is four minutes, the high incident rate is the major cost factor for the freight industry and we need a more reliable junction at this vital interchange.’
A computer generated video showing the new junction has also been released.