Boris Johnson pledges dualling of the A1 all the way to Scotland under 'New Deal' plans for UK
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged dualling the A1 all the way through the North East to Scotland under plans for developing the UK.
Mr Johnson made the vow in a speech setting out what he is calling a New Deal for the future of the UK economy and its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A project to dual two sections of the A1 in Northumberland, meaning the road will be dual-carriageway as far north as Ellingham, is already underway, but campaigners have continued to call for it to go right to the Scottish border.
And 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.”
Reacting to the speech, Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The Prime Minister knows how vital the A1 is, not just to Northumberland and the North East, but as a crucial link with Scotland. I am delighted he is backing my campaign.”
In December 2014, the then Prime Minister David Cameron visited the county to announce £290million for a scheme that includes two sections of dualling – Morpeth to Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham – as well as other improvements north of Ellingham.
After years of preparatory works and consultations, a development consent order (DCO) – the equivalent of a planning application for major infrastructure projects – for the sections of dualling is due to be submitted this week.
The bid will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and 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.
The Highways England website currently states that the start date for work is 2020-21 to 2024-25, with an end date ‘to be confirmed’. Previously, target dates were given of work starting in 2021 and the new routes to be open to traffic in 2023.
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 underway in late 2018.