Dualling of A1 in Northumberland hit by delay

Plans to dual 13 miles of the A1 in Northumberland have suffered a six month delay.

The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.
The A1 between Morpeth and Alnwick.

National Highways had hoped for a January decision from the Government’s planning inspectorate on whether the scheme should be given the final green light.

However, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has asked for more time to consider the upgrade of the route between Morpeth and Ellingham.

He has asked for comments or clarification from National Highways on 12 points, including its assessment of the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the scheme.

National Highways, formerly known as Highways England, remain ‘confident’ of getting the development consent order required to kickstart the project.

In a statement, National Highways said: “The Secretary of State has asked for more time to consider our proposals for upgrading the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham in Northumberland.

“We’re committed to delivering these improvements and remain confident that our proposals will deliver much needed additional capacity, with better connectivity for people and business, and safer journeys for everyone.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their engagement and contribution in the development of the scheme to date.

“We will continue to work with the planning inspectorate, local stakeholders and local authorities until the Secretary of State makes his decision, which is now expected in early June 2022.”

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has lined up a meeting with National Highways to discuss progress.

She said: "I understand the Secretary of State has a series of minor technical questions and areas of clarification he would like confirmed by National Highways, who have until January 19 to respond. I am meeting them on the 21st to discuss that, but I believe their preparatory works are continuing apace."

In November, highways bosses indicated that works would begin in the summer with an ambition to get the dualled section open for traffic in 2024/25.

The scheme has been split into two sections, with Government cash worth £290m allocated.

The first stretch, between Morpeth and Felton, will see eight miles of road upgraded to dual carriageway; a bypass constructed between Priests Bridge and Burgham Park; and a new subway and bridge over the River Coquet.

The second section, between Alnwick and Ellingham, will include a five-mile portion of highway converted to dual carriageway and a new junction at Charlton Mires.

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