Warm welcome for A1 dualling route announcement

05 Sep 2017

Northumberland County Council has welcomed the Government’s announcement today of the preferred routes for the A1 Morpeth to Felton and Alnwick to Ellingham dualling upgrade.

Following further development of their proposals Highways England have now identified the Green route option for Morpeth to Felton, and the Orange route option between Alnwick and Ellingham.

Following a six-week consultation last year, three options were presented to residents and regional stakeholders for plans to widen the A1 between Morpeth and Felton, and one option to widen the A1 between Alnwick and Ellingham.

The council has long campaigned for dualling of the A1 north of Morpeth - recognising the significant economic and other benefits for the county and wider border and north east regions.  

The improvements will mean the creation of a dual carriageway on the entire stretch of the route between Newcastle and Ellingham - providing additional capacity and improving journey times and safety.

Cllr Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council said:  “This is fantastic news for Northumberland and will provide very significant strategic and economic benefits.  

“Dualling will promote sustainable growth along the A1 corridor as well as improved connectivity with Edinburgh and the Lothians and with Tyne and Wear and other regions to the south.  

“Existing businesses will have better access to markets for their goods and services, and to sources of labour, and the dualling will also encourage new businesses to become established - creating new jobs and economic growth.

“This announcement is a further confirmation of the Government delivering on its promises in Northumberland.”

Councillor Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services said:  “We have been campaigning for dualling of this key strategic route for over two decades, and this announcement of preferred routes is the next important step to securing major improvements.

“The ‘green’ route for Morpeth to Felton was strongly favoured by the council and so I am very pleased that this will be going forward.  It addresses our concerns that the other routes would have had more impact on the A697 during construction.

“The dualling is set to make significant improvements to road safety on the route, something I am also a very strong campaigner for, with the Green route between Morpeth and Felton offering the best alignment for improving safety.

“We welcome the support of our MP who has worked so hard for this and look forward to working with Highways England as they progress this through the next steps.”

Highways England project manager Nanette Hoyle said today:  “We recognise the importance of this route and are delighted to announce the two options we are taking forward are the ones which the majority of people wanted in last year’s consultation.

“Over the last few months we have worked hard to identify the best possible options by working through the feedback from the events, along with safety, economic and environmental analysis and we are excited to share our plans with local stakeholders, businesses and the community.

“Work now continues, adding detail to the design for each of the dualling options and on planning how we will deliver them in a way that keeps traffic moving.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for taking part. There will be further opportunities to have your say as the schemes develop.”

The green option between Morpeth and Felton includes building a new carriageway to the west of the existing road between Priest’s Bridge and Burgham Park. This option will improve safety along the route and will also have benefits during construction in terms worker safety and efficiency. The existing A1 will act as a local road once the scheme has been completed.

The orange route between Alnwick and Ellingham involves upgrading the existing road to dual carriageway, widening either the east or west of the current road depending on the local features that need to be considered. This option also includes improvements at the South Charlton junction.

Highways England will be holding further public consultation events in the area during 2018 - offering communities the opportunity to discuss in more detail the design of the preferred routes, discuss the planning application and the next steps with the project team.  Further information will be released nearer the time.

You can find out more about the A1 in Northumberland scheme at www.highways.gov.uk/A1inNorthumberland