A19 and A168

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Route of the A19 and A168

Those who don't venture to the north-east all that often might not be familiar with the A19, and might not realise just what an important road it is. The A1 is, of course, the Great North Road, — so perhaps, north of York at least, the A19 is the Other North Road. From Dishforth up to the northern edge of Tyneside, there is a second major route running east of the A1, serving all the large and important towns that its more famous counterpart doesn't reach. The whole of Teesside — Middlesbrough, Stockton and Billingham — is reached this way; Hartlepool and Peterlee would be lost without it; Sunderland and Gateshead rely on it just as much as they do the A1 itself.

In fact, it may come as a surprise to those who live in places like Middlesbrough or Hartlepool that, outside their patch, the A19 is relatively unknown and overlooked. But then that's its greatest advantage: the parallel A1 is busy and often unpleasant; a rat race of rush hour commuting and too-narrow motorway sections that last saw improvement work in the mid 1960s. The A19 is the quicker, quieter drive for those in the know.

It's also the one that has seen improvement work most recently. While the Newcastle Western Bypass has been festering in its traffic jam nightmare since the 1980s, and the A1(M) between Durham and Darlington is home to queues of traffic behind lorries struggling up and down the hills, the A19 can boast one of the most impressive bits of A-road in the country at Middlesbrough — where it is, in places, four lanes each way and, at the junction with the A66, has a rare fully free-flowing four-way junction. In mid-2011, the second Tyne Tunnel was opened, completing the dual carriageway around Newcastle and taking 45 minutes off the old rush hour queues.

Despite that, outside of the bypasses, a lot of the A19 was improved on its existing line, and the more rural sections tend to have side-turnings, farm accesses and unexpected entrances from little back lanes here and there. It's a far cry from the bustling section around the Nissan plant and the Wear Bridge or the impressive Tees crossing, from which the twinkling lights and flares of the oil refineries make for a surprisingly pleasant view at night, even if the landscape isn't quite so inspiring in the daytime.

So if you're travelling north you might want to opt for the A19 instead of the A1 next time — just keep it under your hat, OK?

You're not looking at the whole A19 and A168

This page only deals with the parts of the A19 and A168 that are classed as motorway or that have motorway characteristics. Any other sections of this road won't be featured here and will not count towards the mileage shown below.

Tolls

A toll is charged to use the Tyne Tunnel for both northbound and southbound traffic.

Vehicle class Toll for single crossing
Motorbikes
Disabled badge holders
Free
Vehicles with 2 axles and below 3 metres height
Articulated vehicles with tractor height below 2 metres and trailer height below 3 metres
£1.70
Vehicles above 3 metres height
Vehicles with more than 3 axles and height above 2 metres
£3.30

The prices above are intended as a guide only, and were correct at 5 September 2016. Please check the Tyne Tunnels official website for up-to-date prices.

Factfile

Start Wide Open (A1)
Finish Dishforth (A1(M))
Passes Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tynemouth, South Shields, Gateshead, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough, Thirsk
Length 75 miles
Connects to A1, A1(M)

With thanks to Daniel Doran, Ian Duff, Chris Bertram and John for information in this section.