Opened to traffic in 1975 the A19 Tees Viaduct was built as part of a comprehensive scheme to improve the A19 between Sunderland and Thirsk. The scheme also included the construction of 10 miles of completly new road between Haverton Hill Road and Crathorne. At that time the nearest river crossing - Newport Bridge - being only single carriageway could hardly cope with local traffic so a new road bridge was needed.

Although the upstream town of Stockton was no longer regarded as a port the new bridge was nevertheless built with sufficient clearance for ships to pass beneath. It was also built with two lane dual carriageways (as were the approach roads) even though local experts pointed out to the Ministry that at least three lanes per carriageway would be needed. (A prediction which was soon bourne out at peak times).

Recently extra lanes were added to the approach roads but not to the bridge itself. Consideration was given to demolishing the bridge and building a low level replacement with more lanes but this was deemed economically non viable. The length between the main abutments is 1.95km (1.21 miles), there are 68 spans on the main carriageway of which the longest is 117metres (384 feet).