The Road from Hell

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Road from Hell


Byline: By Linda Richards

Noise, dust and sleepless nights ruin residents' lives

Noise levels from one of the region's busiest roads are above national guidelines, sparking an investigation.

Families living near the A1 in Gateshead said the road has ruined their lives and now they want action.

Four decades ago when Hazel Leonard and neighbour Don Pearson moved to Lady Park, it was a country idyll with horses grazing in the field behind their homes and geese, badgers, deer and skylarks were a common sight.

Now 85,000 vehicles a day thunder past their back doors on the highway and dust, pollution and sleepless nights are the norm.

And at the front Bainsley Lane has become a rat run for thousands of motorists trying to avoid congestion on the A1 Gateshead Western By Pass.

After decades of campaigning, residents in the 27-house hamlet have made a breakthrough. The Highways Agency has agreed noise levels on the dual carriageway are too high.

"When the road was opened 30 years ago it was a bypass but now it has become an integral part of the Gateshead road system and has become the A1," said Don, 73. "We don't want to move because it is a nice community. What we want is an acoustic barrier to throw the noise back onto the road."

Over the years trees have been planted at the bottom of their gardens to screen the noise and homes have been fitted with secondary double gazing, both of which failed to block out the noise. Many residents have fitted improved double glazing which works as long as the windows are shut.

"The road has been upgraded three times since and the volume of traffic has got worse," said mother-of-two Hazel, 62. …

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