Roadworks at two spots along the A1 in Northumberland are to be cleared for the August bank holiday – and the news has been described as a relief and a boost.
The Gazette has been told by Highways England that the refurbishment works at the bridge at the southern entrance to Alnwick will be finished before the holiday period starts.
The scheme began in February and during this time, alternate sides of the A1 carriageway have been closed with a contraflow system in place featuring a 50mph speed limit.
Currently, the northbound side is closed for a stretch near Alnwick. Traffic is running in both directions on the southbound carriageway 24 hours a day.
However, the temporary traffic lights which are in place on the A1068 below the bridge will remain in place until what is expected to be the end of September.
On top of this, roadworks at Stannington, which started earlier this month and have caused congestion, especially for vehicles travelling south, are to be removed for the bank holiday period.
Currently, the traffic is running in both directions on the southbound carriageway while work takes place to resurface the northbound carriageway.
However, the roadworks will be reinstalled after the bank holiday, as the scheme is not due to be completed until September.
The news of the bank-holiday roadworks removal has been welcomed by those involved in the business and tourism industries.
Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni was pleased that an end is in sight for the scheme on the outskirts of the town and said that the time was a ‘bank holiday boost’ for business in area.
He said: “It is not before time, because this work has taken so long. The businesses will be really pleased about this – it is definitely a bank holiday boost for them.”
The current work at the bridge in Alnwick comes on the back of work which was carried out on the same bridge in 2010/11, causing disruption for more than a year.
Jeff Sutheran, who runs St Cuthbert’s House bed and breakfast in Seahouses, and is chairman of the North Northumberland Tourism Association, also spoke of his delight at the removal.
He said: “It is good news and it will be a relief to those people in the tourism industry, because it is horrible to hear of visitors who are beset by traffic problems.
“It is a great asset to tourism if you can use roads that are clear and not littered with road works.”
He added that the lifting of the roadworks at Stannington was ‘especially good news’.