Three years on: Where are we on A1 dualling pledge?

Then Prime Minister David Cameron near the A1 at Causey Park on December 1, 2014.
Then Prime Minister David Cameron near the A1 at Causey Park on December 1, 2014.

This picture, which has an air of ‘where are they now’ about it, was taken three years ago this week when the then Prime Minister came to north Northumberland to announce £290million to dual and improve the A1.

Following that announcement from David Cameron on December 1, 2014, we have had two General Elections, the country has a new Prime Minister and the Berwick constituency has a new MP.

However, progress has been made in line with that initial pledge, with the preferred routes for the two sections to be dualled announced in September this year, meaning construction work could start in 2019/2020 with completion in 2023.

There remains the issue of whether the road will be dualled from Ellingham north to the Scottish Border. As it stands, work on junction improvements and new overtaking lanes is due to start next year.

Gazette comment: Three years on and it’s clear to see the progress

It’s still a while off, but the way forward for dualling the A1 has become clearer with this week marking three years since the pledge was made by then Prime Minister David Cameron.

In this column back then, in December 2014, we said that it would be naïve to ignore the fact that a General Election was less than six months away and that there had been a number of promises before.

However, we also pointed out that the scheme seemed to have gone further than ever before, with the commitment of £290million a major achievement.

Each year, as we reflected on what had happened in the months since that pledge, we noted that progress was being made with surveys, consultations and the like taking place.

The project to upgrade the key trunk road moved to the next stage in September as the details of the widening of two sections, which will mean continuous dual carriageway to Ellingham, were confirmed.

Politicians and business leaders welcomed the news, although it remains the case that some of our readers are still sceptical the project will come to fruition, despite the progress so far.