Depending on your point of view, the A1290 is either a road in two separate parts, or a duplicate, where the two identically numbered roads are very close together. The entire road has the B1289 as an ancestor - but only gained its current number towards the end of the 20th century.
The road starts at a roundabout GSJ on the A182 in Albany, a suburb of Washington. The road heads northeastwards along a typical New Town arterial road, looking surprisingly rural, with buildings off to the side but not accessible from the road. At the next roundabout we turn right and head due east, now lined with houses to show the history of the New Town. We follow several more roundabouts to the south of Concord (which used to be Usworth village centre), crossing the A195 at one of them.
A1290 road outside Sulgrave
A short detour to the north brings us back to the original line of the B1289 and we cross the old Leamside Line at what used to be a level crossing. The road then zigzags to pass to the north of an industrial estate and the Nissan factory. The road bends to the left to leave the old B1289 behind; this is accessible at traffic lights and passes the North East Aircraft Museum (the car factory was built on the old Sunderland Airport) before petering out. The A1290 continues for a short distance to reach the A19 at a dumbbell interchange.
The A1290 disappears here. Traffic for Sunderland is directed south along the A19 then east along the A1231, so technically the A1290 multiplexes this way; this distance is about 4 miles. The A1290 number reappears at a crossroads in Southwick where the A1231 turns right to cross the River Wear. We continue on along the former A1231 to a large roundabout with the B1539, which also used to be the A1231. We then go straight ahead on a road built at the same time as the A1231 until we rejoin the old B1289 by the Stadium of Light. We continue on over the Newcastle to Sunderland line to end at traffic lights on the A1018.