A grieving father whose son was killed in a head-on crash just over a year ago has vowed to step up his campaign to dual the A1 in Northumberland throughout 2013.
Alex Gibson, of Berwick, has already been to Downing Street to hand over a petition with more than 11,000 signatures.
Now, he hopes to get 100,000 names on a new online petition to force a debate on the issue at the House of Commons.
He regards the Government’s decision to invest £378million in the A1 south of Newcastle as a ‘kick in the teeth’. None of it has been earmarked for the stretch of road in north Northumberland where his son, also Alex, was killed in a head-on collision in November 2011. He was 32.
“Once again, the Government has ignored the north corner of Northumberland,” said Mr Gibson, of Spittal.
“The A1 south of Newcastle needs updated as well, but it’s a kick in the teeth when my Project Alexander petition to upgrade the A1 north of Newcastle, with over 11,000 signatures, was handed in to 10 Downing Street three weeks earlier.”
Mr Gibson spent weeks knocking on doors in Alnwick, Beal, Belford, Berwick, Bamburgh, Seahouses, Ford, Etal, Duddo, Cornhill, Kelso, Eyemouth, Coldingham and elsewhere.
“You’ve got to go out and meet people to understand, what this means and why it is so important,” he added. “I heard some horrendous stories on the doorsteps. Some people avoid driving on that stretch of the A1 altogether.”
Mr Gibson marked the first anniversary of his son’s death in November by placing a cross at the roadside where he was killed. On it, he has written ‘Project Alexander’. He is determined to continue the fight in memory of his son.
“The day before the petition was handed in, there was another fatal accident near Felton,” said Mr Gisbon. “Since November 2011, when Alex was killed north of Alnwick, Kashif Hussain, 29, died near Fenwick in March 2012. Now, Nigel Sowerby, 37, near Felton. All accidents had the same blueprint.
“They were all head-on collisions on single carriageway.
“That’s why we need the A1 north of Newcastle – Morpeth to Berwick – dualled all the way up.
“About 23 years ago, pop star Chris Rea had a huge hit with Road to Hell. It was this road he based the song on.
“In 1992, the Conservative government promised to dual the road all the way.
“If they had done what they said they would do, the A1 would have been completed and the three men mentioned above would have had a good chance of being alive today.
“So Project Alexander is running another petition. Online this time. So spare a minute and sign.
“This time I need 100,000 signatures so that it can be brought before the House of Commons.”
Another campaigner, the Conservative Party’s Northumberland spokesperson Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has secured a meeting with the transport secretary and is urging businesses to make an economic case to the government for upgrading the road.
She said: “The reality is that talking about it isn’t enough – businesses from Scotland down to Teesside have to help us build the economic evidence to prove to Whitehall just how vital this investment is for the future of the North East.”
To sign the Project Alexander petition go online to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk