Newcastle Central Motorway reopens following nearby fire damage
The northbound carriageway has been closed ever since a large fire engulfed a disused building on Carliol Square on the evening of Wednesday, June 28.
A large-scale operation was led by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) to extinguish the blaze.
Initial checks to establish if anyone was inside were completed earlier this week and more detailed searches are now being carried out.
Following the fire, the northbound carriageway of the Central Motorway was closed amid safety concerns around the structure of the building and the possibility that debris could fall into the road and pose a potential threat to life.
However, the structure has now been secured and made safe so that one lane of the road can be re-opened.
One lane of the northbound Central Motorway reopened at 1.30pm today, with a temporary 30mph speed limit in place.
Road users are still being advised to use alternative routes if possible.
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“We are pleased to announce that following extensive discussions with our partner organisations, one lane of the northbound carriageway of the Central Motorway is able to reopen from this lunchtime.
“A temporary speed limit will be in place on the carriageway to ensure the safety of road users and we ask that motorists adhere to it at all times.
“If you can use an alternative route for your journey, then please do so as not all lanes of the carriageway will be open.”
Chf Insp Wheeler added: “The decision to close the road was not one that was taken lightly given the impact it has had on road users, but ultimately the safety of the public is paramount in our thoughts.
“We will continue to monitor the traffic flow on the road and will provide further updates around the full re-opening of the carriageway as soon as we can.”
Police are treating the cause of the Carliol Square blaze as suspected arson and a total of eight people have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation. They have all now been released on police bail, with enquiries ongoing.
Newcastle City Council’s Interim Assistant Director of Transport, Pamela Holmes, said: “This has been a challenging time which has caused motorists a lot of disruption on a major route through the city so I would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation over the last 10 days.
“The safety of motorists is my top priority, so we’ve put lots of measures in place to enable a partial re-opening of the central motorway while work continues on the building.
“To avoid congestion can I appeal to motorists to continue to use other routes for now and only use the central motorway unless they really need to.
“We continue to work closely with the police and will have the central motorway fully opened again as soon as possible.
“While the northbound carriage has been closed, we have taken the opportunity to carry out maintenance work on crash barriers, gullies and road surfaces so hopefully this will reduce the likelihood further disruption in future.”
Anyone with information regarding the fire at the building on Carliol Square is asked to call 101 or report online via the ‘Tell us Something’ page of Northumbria Police’s website, quoting NP-20230628-1077.