|Sunderland Southern Radial Route|
|To:||South Shields (NZ365668)|
|Distance:||12.5 miles (20.1 km)|
|Meets:||A19, B1285, B1522, B1287, B1405, B1522, A1231, B1294, B1293, A183, A1290, B1291, A184, B1299, A1300, B1301, B1298, A183, A194|
|Route outline (key)|
The A1018 is a short and mostly urban A-road which follows the original line of the A19 in north east County Durham. However, there have been a number of upgrades since the A19 days and so the A1018 does not follow that road's original route as much as expected. It is mostly primary, linking the modern A19 trunk road with Sunderland and South Shields.
The road starts at a fork GSJ at Seaton on the A19 Seaham bypass. The road continues as a dual-carriageway along a road opened with the A19 number until it meets the original course of that road as it crosses Ryhope Dene. After going under a bridge carrying a dismantled railway the A1018 turns right at a roundabout leaving the ex-A19 to continue ahead on what is now the B1522. From here the speed limit drops to 50mph and the A1018 is entirely single-carriageway until it reaches Sunderland city centre.
After passing through a roundabout with only two arms - presumably future-proofed to provide access to unbuilt infrastructure - the A1018 meets the B1287 at a further roundabout and turns left to run parallel to the Durham Coast railway line. Both are essentially running along the cliff top, although the sea is barely visible at this point. After meeting the B1405 at Salterfen Roundabout, with the speed limit decreasing again to 40mph, the road goes over the railway line - with good views of the sea to the right - before dropping down to go under a freight line to Sunderland Docks. A traffic light controlled crossroads at Hendon Grange sees the speed limit reduce to 30mph and the road become more urban in character. A few more roundabouts take the road past the residential areas of Grangetown and Hendon before the A1231 (unsigned at this point) is met at another roundabout on the edge of the city centre.
Following the A1018 on the ground isn't easy from here. The road passes to the east of the city centre although some maps claim the primary route runs to the west. The signs are most unhelpful, having not been replaced since the re-routing of the A1018 in 2008: the A1018 continues ahead along a road signposted as the B1522 and then it isn't given a number at all at the next roundabout, where it turns left. However, the road is well-engineered, obviously built as a bypass, and the A1018 number does come back at the following roundabout where it meets its former route (now the B1294). After one more roundabout, giving access to the docks on the B1293, the road curves left to run parallel to the River Wear (although it's not visible from the road) before a short dualled section takes us back to the ex-A19 and we turn right to cross the Wearmouth Bridge.
On the left bank of the Wear we reach a gyratory. Northbound traffic runs straight ahead, parallel to the railway line again, to a set of traffic lights where the A1290 turns left. Southbound traffic turns off at this set of lights to run round the other three sides of the rectangle, meeting the A183 and passing the ancient St Peter's church as it does so.
The A1018 now continues through the northern suburbs as Newcastle Road. It goes over the railway line near Stadium of Light Metro Station (the stadium itself is a short walk from here) and meets the B1291 at a large traffic light controlled crossroads. After this it begins to leave the urban area behind, passing Fulwell Mill and a large car dealership on the left hand side before meeting the A184 at a roundabout. The A1018 bears right here before a short, rural section leads to the village of Cleadon. After zigzagging through the village, the road enters open country again and the former A19 turns off to the right along Sunderland Road before the A1018 becomes dual at a roundabout and runs along King George Road into Harton on the edge of South Shields.
The A1300 is crossed at the next roundabout and the A1018 loses primary status. It continues north through the suburbs until meeting the old A19 again just before the road narrows and becomes genuinely suburban. A short one-way loop begins at the next roundabout, northbound traffic running straight on along Imeary Street while southbound traffic follows Westoe Road and Dean Road. Now on the final stretch, the A1018 continues north along Westoe Road, ending at traffic lights by the town hall. This is a triple point: to the left is the A194 whilst straight ahead is the A183 which has been shadowing us since Sunderland. The old A19 continued ahead into the town centre but this is now pedestrianised.
The A19 was moved onto the Sunderland Bypass as part of the renumberings that took place when the A1 was re-routed through the Tyne Tunnel. That road's former route became the A1018, running through Ryhope on Stockton Road, then along Ryhope Road, passing through Sunderland city centre, crossing the Wearmouth Bridge and continuing on to South Shields. At some stage, the main through route in Sunderland city centre was diverted away from Burdon Road, Fawcett Street and Bridge Street onto Park Road, Toward Road, Borough Road, Sans Street and West Wear Street.
The Sunderland Southern Radial Route was completed in 2008, having opened in stages between the Wellfield Roundabout south of Ryhope and Hendon Grange where it met the existing road network. The A1018 was moved onto a more easterly alignment along Hendon Road and Commercial Road to meet the northern end of the new road. In the process, it took over some of the B1294 and almost the entire B1522. The displaced B-roads were in turn moved onto the A1018's former alignment - the B1522 between the Wellfield Roundabout and the gyratory at the northern end of Ryhope Road, and the B1294 onto Toward Road and Borough Road.