LONG awaited road widening works will be carried out at a busy County Durham roundabout in a bid to reduce congestion.

Durham County Council will begin work on the A688 east of Thinford roundabout, near Spennymoor, on Monday, January 16 and expects it to take three months to complete.

The scheme, made possible by the demolition of the old Thinford Inn, aims to increase capacity at the junction and reduce traffic queues. It includes the creation of a new junction providing a right turn lane from the A688 and access to a new development due to open later in 2017 along with street lighting, signage, drainage works and the diversion of utilities.

During the works, the eastbound lane of the A688 will be closed from the roundabout towards Metal Bridge. Businesses will remain open with parking provided in a layby to the east, which will be closed to other traffic and remain shut once the scheme is done. A diversion will take drivers via the A167 to Rushyford, the A689 to the Sands Hall roundabout at Sedgefield and then the A177 to Tursdale. Full closures of the A688 will be required towards the end of the work.

Adrian White, Durham County Council’s head of transport and contract services, said: “These essential works will support the regeneration of the area and reduce waiting traffic at what has become something of a bottleneck.

“There will be a diversion in place and motorists should expect some disruption. We would like to thank them in advance for their patience.”