Work starts as part of £290m upgrade of A1 in Northumberland

A map showing the proposals for the A1 in north Northumberland.
A map showing the proposals for the A1 in north Northumberland.

Work has begun to improve 11 junctions on the A1 in north Northumberland, which highway bosses say will make it safer for drivers to get on and off this major road.

The safety improvements on the stretch north of Ellingham started last month and are taking place ahead of work to create a continuous dual carriageway between Newcastle and Ellingham.

These schemes form part of a £290million investment on the A1, which Highways England says will provide additional capacity, and improve journey times and safety while supporting economic growth in the region.

Junction improvements will be carried out at Fenham-le-Moor, Outchester, Adderstone Mains, Newstead and Old Mousen, with work having started on the first three - Adderstone Mains, Outchester and Fenham-le-Moor - in early December.

Highways England’s senior project manager, Tsuwun Bevan, said: "It is fantastic news that we are able to start these vital safety improvements north of Ellingham, making it safer for drivers getting on or off the A1.

"Our research has shown that by carrying out these improvements such as advanced warning signs and improved junction lining we will be able to reduce the number of collisions at these junctions and along this stretch of the A1."

Following a careful review of the original overtaking lane proposals, these have now been removed from the scope of the project on safety grounds due to how close they were to junctions.

However, additional junction safety improvements will be carried out at Cheswick, Warenford, Station Road (Belford), Haggerston Castle, Purdy Lodge and Fenham Hill. All of the 11 junction improvements are planned to start by March 2020.

The two sections of dualling, from Morpeth to Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham, are both progressing subject to all the relevant planning requirements being achieved and the schemes remaining value for money. A series of public consultation events are planned on the Alnwick to Ellingham section in the spring.

Since the funding was first announced by then Prime Minister David Cameron in December 2014, disappointment has been expressed by some over the lack of dualling all the way through the county to the Scottish border, however, campaigners and politicians continue to push for this.