Work to dual A1 at least ‘four to five years away’

The single-carriageway stretch of the A1 to the south of Felton.
The single-carriageway stretch of the A1 to the south of Felton.

Liberal Democrats in north Northumberland have reminded constituents that the pressure must continue to make progress for any A1 improvements, following the latest meeting of the Stakeholder Feasibility Group in Morpeth today.

Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick, Julie Porksen, who attended the meeting, said: “Today’s meeting looked in detail at the various parts of the road being considered as part of the Department of Transport’s feasibility studies.

“The most heavily used section of the single-carriageway A1 is the Morpeth to Felton stretch and dualling the remaining eight miles here would cost between £160 and £260million. Carrying on the dualling up to Ellingham, a further five miles, is estimated to bring the total up to between £250 and £430million. To dual the entire 37-mile single-carriageway stretches would cost between £720million and £1.2billion.

“The feasibility study is looking at the cost, but also the benefits which would come if the work is done, in terms of road safety, reduced journey times, greater reliability along the route and so on, so different stretches of the road will fit different priorities.

“Any work which is agreed in the coming Autumn Statement will then take a further four to five years to develop before we finally see diggers on the ground, so this campaign, which has been running for decades, has a long way still to go. The devil will be in the detail, but Sir Alan Beith and I will keep up the pressure for progress.”

Sir Alan Beith MP added: “There is no ‘quick fix’ as far as the A1 is concerned, but I am continuing to have regular discussions with Ministers at the Treasury and in the Department of Transport about progress which could be made on the road.

“It is only since we had a Coalition Government that progress has been made; the Conservatives promised to dual the road in 1992 ahead of a General Election, but despite five further years in power they did nothing, and Labour were happy to drop the schemes off their list of transport projects when they were in Government.”