Northumberland County Council welcomes A1 dualling plans

Northumberland County Council has welcomed today’s announcement that parts of the A1 in Northumberland are to be dualled.

Coun Grant Davey, leader of the county council, said: “This is excellent news, not just for motorists and residents, but also for the economy of the county and the north east.

“Since we were elected in 2013 we have campaigned tirelessly for the dualling of the A1. We look forward to seeing a reduction in accidents and delays as well as clear economic benefits.”

The dualling of two stretches of the A1 are contained in the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy which was released this morning.

They will include:

○ Dualling the eight miles of single carriageway between Morpeth and Felton;

○ Dualling the five miles of single carriageway between Alnwick and Ellingham;

○ Complementary measures on the remaining stretch of single carriageway to the north of Ellingham. This is likely to include localised widening to accommodate climbing lanes and individual junction improvements, such as right turn lanes.

The Highways Agency has acknowledged the work that the county council had done in preparing a detailed review of the wider economic benefits which showed the local economy could benefit by up to £376 million if the road was dualled.

The council argued that the benefits of dualling the A1 include:

○ Supporting the delivery of 2,000 new jobs and 12,000 new homes;

○ Promoting sustainable growth along the A1 route with better connections between markets;

○ Supporting and promoting growth across a range of high-quality business locations and service and manufacturing sector companies;

○ Reducing business costs and attracting new businesses to Northumberland and the wider region as the road network becomes more reliable and efficient;

○ Improving access to markets for existing businesses – both for their goods and to sources of labour;

○ Enabling economies of scale and critical mass in employment growth areas;

○ Complementing investment in the strategic road network in Tyne and Wear and North Yorkshire to the south and bolstering the case for more investment north of the border.

Communities and businesses in South East Northumberland towns including Ashington and Blyth will also benefit from improved connection to the A1 on completion of the South East Northumberland Strategic Link Road (Morpeth Northern Bypass), due in late 2016.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “The dualling of the A1 has been a key issue both for local people and the business community for a number of years and we welcome this final commitment to investing in the future of Northumberland and the wider region.”