The West Auckland Bypass has been some 10 years in the making since work first started on the reclamation of the former St. Helens Colliery site in October 1997. This £1.1 million scheme was carried out by DCC Service Direct and involved the reclamation of 8 hectares of colliery waste heaps and former railway tracks with the removal of 250,000 tonnes of contaminated material. A further 100,000 tonnes of material was moved to radically change the landform in advance of the first stage of the bypass.
Immediately following the completion of the reclamation works Stage 1 of the Bypass commenced in March 1998. This scheme valued at over £1.3m was carried out by Wrekin Construction and provided the first 1km of the Bypass between Fylands and St. Helens Industrial Estate.
Following the securing of funds (approx. £7.4m) via the 5-
The main works to Stage 2 were commenced by Balfour Beatty in August 2006 and will be opened to traffic, on time, in June 2007. This provided 2.4km of new single carriageway between a new roundabout at St. Helens Industrial Estate and a further new roundabout on the existing A688 is also located on the A68 at Hummerbeck as well as Broom Mill Bridge providing a new river crossing. The bridge has a 16m span crossing both the river and new bridleways. The scheme provides over 3km of footway/cycle track/ bridleway throughout.
In keeping with Durham County Council policy the work used local natural materials
where possible and waste was kept to a minimum. Materials were recycled and incorporated
into this scheme where possible including -
Slide Show of the Construction of the Bypass
Sonny`s Message to West Aucklanders
The Bypass was opened on 29th June 2007, with a procession of vintage cars carrying some local school children from Copeland road, Oakley cross and St Helens school, however they were unable to complete the full route due to the actions of local farmers Peter and Nigel Raine whom blocked the bypass with their tractors, Nigel told the Northern Echo, "As far as we are concerned we still own the land because we have not been paid” whilst Peter added “Some don't mind but we do and this is our only chance to protest. We don't want to inconvenience people so we won't stay all day." However it was opened to traffic by 4pm. At time of writing the Raines are still having problems. Click here for Some of the Problems Peter is having
During 2012 the Bypass stage 1 has been having problems with local flooding due to disused mines overflowing completely blocking the carriageway, hopefully this will be resolved sooner that later
some links from the Northern Echo and You tube.