After many years of being on wishlists and a two-year construction period, the Morpeth Northern Bypass is now complete.
The 2.4-mile road between Whorral Bank and the A1 at St Leonard’s will cut traffic congestion in the town and reduce travel time and costs between the A1 and south east Northumberland.
The scheme – a partnership between Northumberland County Council and Carillion, which carried out the works – will boost the county’s economy in the long-term by an estimated £47million.
It fully opened to traffic this afternoon following a short ceremony.
County council chief executive Steven Mason said: “I’m delighted that this major project is now complete.
“The council has worked closely with the contractors throughout this project and we’re looking forward to residents, commuters and visitors benefiting from this new road link.”
An innovative building information modelling process was used during the scheme.
This involved producing designs in a 3D format and linking them to a 4D programme, which enabled the engineers to add in existing roads and infrastructure, and helped to identify and resolve potential problem issues before construction works began.
Dave Bennett, Carillion project director, said: “I hope the people of Morpeth, who have been so patient and incredibly supportive throughout the construction process, will feel an immediate benefit – with the new route around the town alleviating congestion.
“The benefits of this project will be felt for generations to come. From concept to completion, building the bypass has been a challenging but fantastic experience for everyone involved.”
Major structures built during the works include the Cotting Burn culvert. It is 55 metres in length and consists of 44 sections, top and bottom layers, each one weighing some 13 tonnes.
A total of 42 sections for the How Burn culvert were delivered to the site in April 2016, each weighing 27 tonnes.
It not only allows masses of surface water to flow through, but also forms a pathway for bats and other wildlife.
Crews worked day and night to fit the 24 beams into place, weighing a total of 353 tonnes, for the St Leonard’s bridge. By careful planning, the work was delivered on time and the A1 was kept open throughout.
The project has also included the following general statistics: moving 310,000 cubic metres of soil; creating 9,300 metres of hedgerow; laying down 34,000 tonnes of Tarmac; and planting 36,000 trees and shrubs.