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Transport Secretary marks investment in north east with visit to the A1.
Hot on the heels of Monday’s announcement of upgrades to the A1 as part of the government’s ‘Road investment strategy’, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited the north east today (4 December 2014) to meet representatives of the Dual the A1 campaign, the North East Combined Authority, and Northumberland County Council, and discuss next steps and wider transport issues for the region.
Under the road investment strategy unveiled on 1 December 2014, north east of England and Yorkshire together are to benefit from 18 new schemes worth around £2.3 billion, creating an estimated 1,500 construction jobs.
Patrick McLoughlin said:
Upgrading the north east’s transport links is a key part of the government’s long term economic plan.
The people of Newcastle and the north east have been waiting a considerable time for the A1 to be dualled - nearly 80 years, in fact.
The ‘Road investment strategy’ I announced on Monday gives the scheme its long overdue go-ahead. I want to pay tribute to those who have campaigned for this, like them I want to see the project transform one of the country’s most notoriously congested stretches of road.
Highlights of the planned investment in the north east and Yorkshire include:
- in addition to the £300 million widening scheme between Coal House and Metro Centre (announced in 2013 and currently being delivered), work will begin to widen the adjacent section to the south between Coal House and the junction with the A194 (M), as well as provision of additional lanes to the north from Scotswood to North Brunton - this will reduce congestion and enable development around Newcastle and Gateshead
- investing £290 million to upgrade the A1 from Morpeth to Ellingham to create a new expressway-standard road to Ellingham and add further improvements between Ellingham and the Scottish border - this will create 34 miles of continuous ‘expressway’ dual carriage north of Newcastle, better connecting Northumberland into the rest of the country
- extending smart motorways westwards along the M62, so they cross the Pennines to link Leeds and Manchester this will be the first major increase in trans-Pennine capacity since 1971, when the M62 first opened to traffic
- planning will begin to upgrade the last non-motorway section of the A1 in Yorkshire, between Redhouse and Darrington - once completed, it will reduce congestion and improve safety along this route, as well as creating a new corridor to the north east, reducing congestion on the M1 around Sheffield and Leeds
- a study into the feasibility of building a trans-Pennine tunnel to address the strategic gap between Sheffield and Manchester, that would transform capacity and reduce congestion while still preserving the tranquillity of the Peak District
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