'I hope it's the last thing Boris Johnson does' – Government urged to back £44million Blyth Relief Road in Northumberland

The Government has been urged to back the long-awaited £44million Blyth Relief Road.

By Daniel Holland
Friday, 8th July 2022, 1:20 pm

Plans to cut congestion around the town with the new route have been in the works since 2015 and the latest vision for the project could see the road finally opened in early 2026.

Northumberland County Council’s preferred option, after previous designs were deemed undeliverable, is now a realignment and dualling of the existing A1061 Laverock Hall Road, plus an additional link between Chase Farm Drive and Ogle Drive to cut traffic queues along Cowpen Road.

A public consultation on the plans is now set to be launched and councillors called this week for there to be quick progress on the scheme, which will be dependent on government funding.

A plan for the Blyth Relief Road.

Liberal Democrat Jeff Reid told a full council meeting on Wednesday that the proposed February 2026 completion date was “a long time for the people of Blyth to be suffering” and current traffic caused by road closures around the town is a “nightmare”.

“I hope we can get on with it quicker than this. I hope the last thing Boris Johnson does… I hope he signs the piece of paper and releases the money so we can get on with this, because we need it,” he said.

"To be a modern town you need proper roads in and out.”

The estimated cost of the project is £43.9million, though Tory cabinet member Wojciech Ploszaj admitted the price was likely to have risen already due to inflation.

The Tories’ deputy council leader, Richard Wearmouth, said that the relief road was a “priority project for the government and long may that continue”.

Proposals for the relief road also include a segregated cycle path along its entire length and the dualling of a proposed bridge over the restored Northumberland Line railway.

Isabella ward councillor Anna Watson told colleagues that Blyth residents had become “very frustrated” by the lack of progress in getting the road built and warned that extra investment was also needed for a foot and cycle bridge over the river to serve the influx of workers for Britishvolt and JDR Cable Systems.

Labour opposition leader Scott Dickinson said that the road would be “great news for Blyth” and added: “It is really important for the town and the small independent traders, but also the community who live there and the residents that suffer every day.”

A council report states that a planning application for the project is due to be submitted in June 2023 and a full business case sent to the Government 12 months later, with construction starting in November 2024.