Call to improve A1 diversionary routes

Campaigner Julie Pörksen is calling for diversionary routes to be made fit for purpose before the start of A1 dualling works.

The timetable for the project, which will dual sections of the road north of Morpeth, allows four years for preparation and planning to take place, and a 12 to 18-month build time, starting at the end of 2018.

Following a packed public meeting at Powburn discussing road safety issues on the A697, Mrs Pörksen has written to the Highways Agency and Northumberland County Council to call for joined-up action in improving the road, along with the A1068 and other diversion routes, before traffic volumes increase during the A1 work.

Mrs Pörksen, who is the Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick said: “I have asked the council and Highways Agency to publish their approximate diversionary routes for all of the A1 works to take place in the dualling, junction and crawler lane improvements so that any works on the diversionary routes can be finished before traffic increases.

“It is essential that danger spots, such as in and around Powburn are addressed, and road safety measures are installed, such as average speed cameras, which can change driver behaviour and reduce speeding.

“The diversionary routes also need to be fit for purpose so that traffic is free-flowing. As well as the obvious risk to life when HGVs regularly come off the road near Powburn and Thrunton, severe delays occur when the road is closed to recover the HGVs. If these issues are not addressed before the A1 works start we will face some serious traffic problems.

“Given the extensive work already undertaken by road safety campaigners and the wider community in Powburn, as well as the authorities, it would make sense to agree and undertake road safety works there as soon as possible.

“I have asked that the authorities work with local communities along these diversionary routes to make sure that local road safety knowledge and concerns are addressed so that the dualling and improvements to the A1 can be as safe as possible.”