The new Minster Quarter Access Road has opened to traffic on Wednesday 4 September.
As well as the new road and general landscaping, improved waiting and pick-up areas for coaches and equipment trucks have been created. Vehicles can now exit directly onto St Mary’s Boulevard reducing local congestion and traffic queues on High Street West.
The £500,000 of works are part of the £1.5bn package of city-wide public and private sector investment projects that Sunderland has planned over the next five years, including half-a-billion in the city centre.
Councillor Amy Wilson, the City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “The new road helps the traffic movements around this part of the city centre, building on the success of the Sunderland Empire, the Fire Station development and the forthcoming Sunderland Auditorium.
“The road is helping to manage all the traffic here and improving the area for pedestrians. Importantly, too, there is enough flexibility in the works to link them conveniently into the auditorium and more development schemes in the future.
“The council has carried out a comprehensive series of works across the city centre, such as through Keel Square and the Vaux site, and these have continued in the Minster Quarter.
“All these works are about improving our city for residents, visitors, businesses and about attracting more investment. Here, next to the Empire, we’re complementing established and developing cultural attractions as we look to the future.”
The council’s Cabinet backed the project in 2017 and planning permission was granted in April last year. A second phase of paving, planting and landscaping works is planned at Garden Place and in High Street West.
All the works are in line with the city’s Minster Quarter Masterplan that seeks to support the development of leisure and cultural facilities in the area.