Concerns over overtaking lane scheme on A1

The options for improvements north of Ellingham.
The options for improvements north of Ellingham.

Residents are being urged to have their say on proposals for an overtaking lane near Belford after concerns were raised about its impact.

Last Thursday’s meeting of Belford Parish Council came the day after an exhibition in the village on the progress of the project to upgrade the A1.

There are no plans to dual the A1 north of Ellingham, but there is funding for schemes such as overtaking lanes and junction improvements.

Under Highways England’s current proposals, an additional northbound lane is slated for between the Cragmill junction and Low Middleton and southbound between the Cragmill junction and the B1342.

Coun Tracy Bell raised concerns about how the extra lane would affect motorists, pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross the A1 from the B6349 into Belford to the B1342 industrial estate side of the village and vice versa.

That junction is not included in the list for improvements nor are there any proposals for the notorious Mousen Bends.

It was explained that this section is not suitable for overtaking lanes because of the bends and that the only solution is dualling, which is not what Highways England has been asked to consider.

However, county councillor John Woodman said as many people as possible should express their views on the Belford junction and the Mousen Bends.

Highways England will assess the potential impacts, benefits and costs of all options this summer before detailed designs are developed. An update will be provided at public consultations in the autumn.

They plan to start construction on some of the north of Ellingham schemes in 2018.

Updates and information are available via the project website – www.highways.gov.uk/A1inNorthumberland
Contact the project team with feedback by sending an email to A1inNorthumberland@highwaysengland.co.uk