Can dualling the A1 really be justified?

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Yet again I pick up a copy of the Gazette to find some dignitary hurling themselves onto the bandwagon of dual carriageway for the A1, a road that was built to serve a large percentage of the population of this country.

From its starting point in London, it heads north passing in close proximity to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, York, Teesside, Durham, Newcastle and Gateshead and on to Morpeth.

The combined population of these places I could not put a figure on but these people use this road to commute to work and transport goods from city to city.

Can we really justify scarring the landscape at huge financial cost to slightly improve journey times to Scotland (total population approximately five million).

As it stands, the road north of Morpeth does have sections of dual carriageway to enable safe overtaking and a policy of banning HGVs from the outside lane works very well where it is being used further south.

Trucks are limited to 40mph by law on single carriage roads.

This may be frustrating for those of you who wish to race along but it has resulted in the UK having one of the best safety records in the world for HGVs.

Safety is important. For a collision to occur on any road, at least one of the vehicles involved must have been in the wrong place.

Yes, I know that’s blindingly obvious but we all make mistakes or take chances. That makes us dangerous, not the road.

The A697 has suffered from a recent spate of accidents. This is part of my own commute and, from personal experience, drivers on this road regard the 60mph speed limit as a compulsory minimum speed.

On a final note, in a county that attracts tourists it always surprises me the high numbers of local residents who are injured or killed on our roads. Maybe the tourists treat our roads with more respect.

CS Blease

Callaly