Major road works have started on Stockton High Street as part of a £38m transformation of the town.
The road layout is changing at the south end of the High Street and the bus stops and taxi rank will also be repositioned to reflect the new road arrangements.
New paving, street furniture and trees will also give the southern end of the High Street, from the Town Hall to Yarm Lane, a whole new look and feel.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “I’m confident the newly designed High Street will make a real difference to the future success of the town centre.
“It will be easier to get into the town and the whole shopping and visitor experience will be transformed.”
The first phase of High Street improvements is due to be complete by summer 2013 and after that the contractors will make their way up the High Street, creating a high quality central area, new spaces for people to sit, relax and play and areas for events and specialist markets.
Meanwhile work is already under way to improve access from the south of the town. Contractors are removing the roundabout at the junction of Stockton’s Riverside and Bridge Road.
Two new linked signal-controlled junctions will take the place of the roundabout to improve traffic flow through the junction, whilst realignment of Riverside will straighten out its connection with 1825 Way, which links central Stockton with the A66 trunk route and Ingleby Barwick.
The improved junction will be known as St John’s Crossing, after the point nearby where the Stockton & Darlington Railway once crossed Bridge Road and where the first rail was laid in 1822.