|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||South Shields (NZ365668)|
|Distance:||18.2 miles (29.3 km)|
|Meets:||A1(M), A167, A693, A1052, B1519, A182, A19, B1405, A690, A1231, A1018, B1291, B1299, A1300, B1344, B1303, A194|
|Old route now:||B1519|
|Route outline (key)|
The A183 is an medium length A road between Chester-le-Street and South Shields. It is unlikely to be followed as a through route between those destinations, but is nevertheless an important route throughout much of its length. It provides an important western radial route for the city of Sunderland and forms the coastal road between the Rivers Tyne and Wear.
Chester-le-Street – Penshaw
The road starts at Junction 63 of the A1(M) just east of Chester-le-Street, initially heading south-east parallel to the motorway. It crosses the River Wear and begins to climb; this section is quite twisty and feels narrow, hemmed in by stone walls. The incline lasts for several miles as the road skirts the southern boundary of the Lambton Estate. The setting is rural here with fields on the right and a wall of trees on the left. At the top of the hill the A1052 leaves at a T-junction.
The road then narrows, with trees close in on both sides, before snaking through the village of Bournmoor. It straightens out briefly before arriving at Wapping Bridge Roundabout - the first give way lines since the A1(M). Here it turns left onto a short and somewhat isolated single-carriageway bypass, which hints at slightly larger, unfulfilled plans. In fact it is the only completed section of the proposed 'Central Route', which would also have run south from Wapping Bridge past Fencehouses to meet the B1284 near Rainton Bridge. At the northern end of the bypass, the intended northern terminus of the Central Route, the A183 meets the A182 at Biddick Hall Roundabout and multiplexes with it into the village of Shiney Row. The A183 number is dominant in the multiplex, presumably because the A182 was intended to be diverted along the Central Route when it was completed.
In the village, the A183 comes to the large Shiney Row Roundabout - apparently an unfinished GSJ as both carriageways are quite some distance apart. Every other exit is very built-up so it's difficult to imagine where the road would have continued past the roundabout, although this may not have been such a major consideration in the 1970s when the roundabout was built - given that its construction required the demolition of two churches, two pubs and several streets of houses! This roundabout was not, however, part of the 21st century plans for the Central Route. The A182 and A183 part ways again at this roundabout. Shiney Row merges seamlessly into Penshaw and as the A183 leaves the village it passes Penshaw Monument, a large folly built in the style of a Greek temple which sits on top of a large hill just off the road. Penshaw Monument can be seen for miles around, even as far away as the A689 near the junction with the A177 by Durham Services.
Penshaw - Sunderland
Past Penshaw Monument the A183 becomes dual carriageway, passing through Chester Road Interchange, its junction with the A19, and entering the outskirts of Sunderland. The A183 from here to the city centre is usually busy, being a major artery for a number of residential areas of Sunderland such as Grindon, Pennywell and Springwell. The road remains dual carriageway, albeit with a reduced speed limit, as it passes through three roundabouts before narrowing to single carriageway.
This section is known as the Broadway and was previously marked as a wide S2, but in 2016 was re-painted as S2+1 in an attempt to ease the congestion which commonly occurs here, particularly on the approaches to the roundabout with the B1405. The road is flanked with houses on both sides, making further widening difficult. It continues towards the city centre past Bishopwearmouth Cemetery, Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland University's City Campus (including a triangular gyratory around the Royalty Theatre), until it meets the A1231 on the edge of the city centre.
At this point, the A183 disappears from signage, not to reappear until Monkwearmouth on the other side of the River Wear. However, maps agree that it multiplexes briefly with the A1231 north along St Michael's Way before turning right at a roundabout onto the recently-remodelled Livingstone Road and St Mary's Way - ploughing across the old Vaux Brewery site to a large signalised roundabout at the south end of the Wearmouth Bridge. This section is primary but, despite Livingstone Road and St Mary's Way having no other number, the A183 number isn't afforded the privilege of appearing on green signs - instead the signage is for (A1018) eastbound and (A1231) and (A690) westbound.
At the roundabout the A183 joins up with the A1018 to cross the bridge (a Tyne Bridge replica to the unfamiliar eye), after which it comes to a set of traffic lights with the Sheepfolds industrial estate and the Stadium of Light off towards the left.
Sunderland – Whitburn
The road turns right at these traffic lights to head along Dame Dorothy Street towards the coast. However, for many years until 2019, the western end of Dame Dorothy Street formed part a substantial one-way system, with northbound A183 traffic required to follow North Bridge Street, Roker Avenue and Church Street North. The junction at the bottom of Church Street North is now controlled by traffic lights in order to enable two-way traffic.
As it approaches the sea, the A183 - with its characteristic red and white lamp posts now repainted in a shade of dark green - passes St Peter's Church (AD 674), one of the oldest in England and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The road also passes through a roundabout for access to the National Glass Centre and St Peter's Campus of Sunderland University before arriving at the coast, bearing left at a small roundabout onto Roker sea front. The other arm of this roundabout heads down a steep hill to the beach and Roker Marina.
Along the sea front the A183 passes a local famous landmark, The Roker Hotel (opened in 1842). To the other side, over a stone balustrade, Roker Pier is visible curving away into the sea. Roker Park is then passed on the left and the tarmac becomes red and the road heads towards Seaburn. Presently the road reaches a roundabout which once housed a large fountain, but years of youths throwing bucketfuls of washing-up liquid into it - completely closing the road off for hours - saw the end of this once pleasant feature which for years afterwards was filled with soil and plants instead. However, in around 2015 the council erected a large sculpture of lights in the shape of a fountain as a nod to its former existence.
On the corner of the roundabout is the former Seaburn Hotel, now known as the Grand Hotel. The A183 then passes several pubs and arcades along a stretch which underwent significant regeneration in the mid 2010s, before going through another roundabout which gives access to a supermarket. Continuing northwards, still on the coast, Sunderland is left behind and the road enters the village of Whitburn, where it meets the B1299 in the village square.
Whitburn - South Shields
On the way out of Whitburn, the North Sea becomes visible again and the road passes Souter Lighthouse and Marsden Rock - no longer as impressive as it once was after a part of it crumbled into the sea. The end of the A1300 is met at a roundabout shortly afterwards. Beyond here there is a wide expanse of grass between the road and the sea; this is where the Great North Run ends. The road descends quite a steep hill to another small and rather tight roundabout where the A183 turns right, hugging the coast and past South Shields' sea front attractions.
The road then curves inland past Marine Park towards the town centre along Ocean Road, famous locally for its many curry houses. After this there are no more signs for the A183, but maps show that it turns left onto Anderson Street, then right onto Beach Road to end at traffic lights by the town hall, a triple point with the A194 and A1018.