Highways England has confirmed this week that it has submitted a Development Consent Order (DCO) – the equivalent of a planning application for major infrastructure projects – to the Planning Inspectorate.
As announced in April, the Morpeth to Felton section and Alnwick to Ellingham section DCOs were combined into one application.
A planning inspector will be appointed to conduct an examination of the proposal, with a statutory duty to conclude that part of the process within six months.
Preparatory works and consultations have taken place over the last few years, and a final public consultation was held before submission of the DCO so that people could comment on the plans.
A Highways England spokesman said: “We have submitted the planning document for the A1 Morpeth to Ellingham dualling project.
“This is the next exciting step forward in our proposals to improve the A1.
“Our aspirations for this major upgrade include creating extra room on the road, providing drivers with safer and smoother journeys, and offering greater access to and from Northumberland.”
To the north of Ellingham, a total of 11 junctions are to be improved after initial proposals for overtaking lanes were dropped due to safety concerns over their proximity to junctions. This project got under way in late 2018.
However, campaigners have continued to call for A1 dualling to go right to the Scottish border.
And hopes were raised of plans being put in place for this when Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a speech in Dudley last week where he set out what he is calling a New Deal for the future of the UK economy and its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the section of his speech on transport infrastructure, Mr Johnson said: “When did a Government first promise to dual the A1 to Scotland? It was 1992. Well, this Government is going to do it.”