With just days to go until Northumberland is alive with the sights and sounds of the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, spectators are being urged to arrive in plenty of time to catch the action.
The Ovo Energy Tour of Britain, the UK’s premier road cycling event, is coming to the county on Monday (September 4), with world-class riders cycling over 200km between Kielder and Blyth, passing through 28 communities along the route.
To minimise disruption across the county, all roads on the route will be closed using a rolling roadblock system for around 40 minutes - both 20 minutes before and after the cyclists are expected to pass through each community.
The closures are required to ensure the safety of spectators and competitors and will be managed by police motorcycle escorts. While the closures are in place, pedestrian access will be maintained as will vehicle access for emergency services.
In some key parts of the race, including Rothbury to Alnwick, Belford to Seahouses, Lesbury to Warkworth, the centre of Morpeth and in Blyth town centre there will be full road closures which will have a greater impact on travel.
Although the road closures will be kept in place for as short a time as possible, they will inevitably cause some disruption to both car and bus journeys.
Spectators are advised to arrive in plenty of time to watch the race and residents who are going about their daily business on race day are being asked to plan their journeys around the race, take a different route, or allow extra travel time.
Some key points and estimated timings along the route:
10.15am: Start on Kielder Dam
11am: First King of the Mountains climb starts outside Elsdon, climbing to the Winter’s Gibbet
11:45am: Riders approach Rothbury followed by King of the Mountains hill climbs up Debdon Bank and Corby Crag
12:10pm: Riders approach Alnwick
1pm: Riders approach Belford and head to Bamburgh
1.20pm: Sprint through Seahouses
2pm: Sprint through Warkworth
2.40pm: Arrive in Morpeth via Amble, Widdrington and Ulgham
2:50pm: Arrive in Bedlington via Guide Post and Choppington
3pm: Riders pass through Blyth for the first time
3:10pm: Sprint through Seaton Sluice
3:30pm: Riders race back through Blyth for the finish
Deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, Coun Wayne Daley, said: “The preparation is almost complete and we’re ready to welcome the Tour of Britain, which will attract many visitors to the county, boost the local economy and showcase Northumberland’s magnificent landscape to a worldwide television audience.
“The council has worked hard to minimise disruption for its residents while the race takes place but this is a major international event so there will be a number of road closures in place to ensure the race can take place safely. We will be working hard to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum and would ask residents to familiarise themselves with some of the details and timings of the route so they can plan ahead.”
Access to Morpeth Bus Station, Morpeth Railway Station and public car parks in the centre of Morpeth will all be affected by the road closure between 2pm - 3.30pm so visitors should plan their journeys around these times as routes around Morpeth are likely to be busy during this period.
There will be disruption to other bus journeys on September 4, particularly with afternoon services. Details of all affected services are available via www.nlandtob.com
All health services will remain open and fully functioning during the Tour and access to hospitals and GP practices along the route will be maintained, although in some cases diversions may be in place. Patients and visitors are advised to allow extra time for their journey.
Professor Chris Gray, medical director at NHS England Cumbria and the North East, said: “The Tour of Britain is sure to be an exciting event, but with the added influx of people in the area, this may put additional pressure on health services. If you are unfortunate enough to have a minor injury or illness, such as a sprain, strain, cut or fall, there are lots of options – ranging from pharmacist advice and basic first aid treatment to GP surgeries and NHS 111. Please keep A&E for life-threatening injuries and severe symptoms which come on suddenly.”
For more details about Stage Two of the Tour of Britain through Northumberland, including maps detailing the route, road closures and estimated arrival times of the race, plus information about events going on in your local area, visit www.nlandtob.com
The Northumberland stage of the race will start at Kielder Dam at 10.15am. There will be a full road closure from Tower Knowe Visitor Centre to Bellingham between 9.15am and 11.30am. Anyone wanting to see the start of the race should park up at Kielder Waterside and get a free shuttle bus to the start.
From Kielder, the race will head across country via Bellingham, Otterburn and Elsdon to Rothbury with cyclists due to arrive in the town at around 11.45am. There will be a rolling road closures along this route.
Heading out of Rothbury there will be an extended road closure in place between 11am and 1.30pm from Cragside B6341 which will cut across the A697 and on towards Alnwick. The race is estimated to arrive in Alnwick at 12.10pm
There will be temporary rolling road closures on the B6346 and B6349 as the race travels through Eglingham, Chatton and arrives in Belford around 1pm.
Between noon and 2pm there will be a full road closure on the B1342 and B1340 between Belford and Seahouses. The A1 will have traffic light control to let the riders through.
There will be rolling road closures on the B1339 as the race heads through Beadnell, Embleton and Longhoughton before arriving in Lesbury at around 1.50pm. There will be a full road closure through the village and on the A1068 to Warkworth between 1:15pm and 2.45pm.
The race will then head by Amble at around 2.05pm, Widdrington, Ulgham, and Longhirst before arriving in Morpeth at 2.40pm where there will be a full road closure in the town.
The race will head out of Morpeth to Guide Post, Choppington, Bedlington and then Blyth where the cyclists will do a loop of the town giving spectators the opportunity to see the race twice.
There will be a full road closure in place between Blyth town centre and in Seaton Sluice between 1.30pm and 4.15pm. There will also be a full road closure up the Avenue, through Seaton Delaval and down Laverock Hall Road between 2.30pm and 4.15pm. There will be significant delays at Blyth Bus Station between 2.30pm and 4pm. Please plan your journey carefully around these times.