Final approval for £30m Morpeth bypass

Whorral Bank bypass site at Morpeth.
Whorral Bank bypass site at Morpeth.

Northumberland County Council has received final approval from the Transport Secretary for the scheme to build a strategic link road between the Al north of Morpeth and south-east Northumberland.

Approval of the full and final bid to the Department for Transport was given on Friday and this confirmation of the Government funding means that the construction contract can now be awarded, and work will start as soon as possible on construction.

As previously reported by the Gazette, the Development Consent Order (DCO) was signed off in January this year and Friday’s announcement was the last aspect outstanding. The total cost of the scheme is £30million, with £9million invested by Northumberland County Council and the remainder coming from the Department for Transport.

Construction is expected to take around 18 months and, after the Pegswood bypass was completed in 2007, is the second phase of the link road between south-east Northumberland and the A1. It will create a 3.8km-long bypass to the north of Morpeth, running from Whorral Bank roundabout to the A1 trunk road between Fairmoor and Lancaster Park.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member responsible for streetcare and environment at Northumberland County Council, said: “The approval is the final confirmation that we can start work on construction of this extremely important link road. As well as greatly improving links to towns in the south-east of the county and alleviating traffic pressures in Morpeth ,it will also open up new areas for possible development – leading to further boosts to the local economy.

“We have been preparing for this announcement for some time and are geared up to commence construction work as early as next week to ensure that the benefits are achieved as soon as possible.”

You can follow development and construction of the project online at www.morpethnorthernbypass.org