Road minister claims Government 'wants to build' A1 upgrade in Northumberland

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Roads minister Guy Opperman has confirmed the Government still wants to dual the A1 in Northumberland.

The Hexham MP said that a Development Control Order (DCO) was still being considered by the Transport Minister. “The much-delayed decision is currently under consideration with a deadline of June 5.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Opperman reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the scheme. The current set of proposals would see a 13-mile stretch between Morpeth and Ellingham dualled.

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In September, a decision on the project was delayed for a fourth time. A DCO was originally submitted in July 2020.

Traffic on the single-lane section of the A1 in Northumberland. Photo: NCJ Media.Traffic on the single-lane section of the A1 in Northumberland. Photo: NCJ Media.
Traffic on the single-lane section of the A1 in Northumberland. Photo: NCJ Media.

Mr Opperman said: “I can’t say anything specifically, we’re waiting for a Development Control Order, but clearly the Government wants to build the A1. It would be a massive step forward.

“Clearly, we have been impacted by the effect of Covid, but I do believe that we are going to get this back on track and get the A1 dualled.”

Mr Opperman also confirmed that Northumberland County Council’s plans for the long-awaited Blyth Relief Road would be backed by the Department for Transport. The minister also met council officials to discuss the proposals.

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The proposed scheme involves the construction of a new dual carriageway and road widening of the existing single carriageway to dual carriageway along the length of the A1061. Additionally, there is a proposal to construct a new single carriageway link between Chase Farm Drive and Ogle Drive.

Mr Opperman said: “There is no question whatsoever that the Blyth Relief Road will be progressed. We can see that delivery is in progress at the Northumberland Line and the Station, there is amazing amounts of investment going into Blyth and it is incredible to see.”

Mr Opperman, appointed roads minister in November 2023, has long campaigned for the dualling of the A69 in his constituency. A Freedom of Information Request by the LDRS last year found there had been 191 crashes on the 32-mile stretch of road between Hexham and Carlisle from 2019 – 2023.

In comparison, there were 129 accidents on the two single-carriageway sections of the A1 in Northumberland over the same period.

Mr Opperman said: “I’m strongly committed to the A69 being dualled and I certainly want to see improvements being made.”

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