Two major Northumberland roads were in the spotlight today as Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited the region.
The Minister, who was joined by Conservative candidate for Berwick-upon-Tweed Anne-Marie Trevelyan, visited Powburn to discuss concerns along the A697, before heading to Alnwick’s Aln Valley Railway.
During his stint in the area, he told the Gazette that he hopes work will start on dualling the A1 between Morpeth and Felton, as well as the stretch north of Alnwick to North Charlton, in the next three years.
He added that, once these sections were upgraded, eyes could well turn to dualling the rest of the road to Berwick, saying: “We will get the parts that we have said we will dual, dualled, and then we will look to see if there is a case for further dualling. We will see what the volumes of traffic are like once we have dualled the stretches that we have said and I think the case will become compelling for further dualling.”
Of the A697, he said that concerns had been raised about the volume and speed of traffic on the road, but believed these issues could be alleviated by upgrading the A1.
He hoped that the recent increase of the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles, from 40mph to 50mph on single-carriageway-roads, wouldn’t have a negative impact on safety along the A697.
Mr McLoughlin’s visit follows Prime Minister David Cameron’s walkabout in Alnwick on Monday.