Key section of scheme nearing completion

The Fulbeck bridge beams, which form part of the Morpeth Northern Bypass works, are lowered into position.
The Fulbeck bridge beams, which form part of the Morpeth Northern Bypass works, are lowered into position.

The Morpeth Northern Bypass project has reached another milestone as major bridge beams have been lifted into position.

The £30million scheme, due for completion in March 2017, will cut congestion in Morpeth and reduce travel time between the A1 and south east Northumberland. As a result, it will benefit a number of businesses in the county.

In the latest developments, the Fulbeck bridge beams have been lifted into position at the central section of the site, meaning the bridge is on course for completion in October.

Engineers are now busy working on the deck, parapets and abutments of the structure.

In other work, drainage continues towards How Burn and is due to be completed by the end of August. This is the final section of drainage on the project.

Road construction has also started from Fulbeck to How Burn and is due to be surfaced in mid-September.

At How Burn, the last remaining embankment will be filled this month to allow the road already completed from Whorral Bank to be connected.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is great news that one of the major structures for the new bypass is nearing completion.

“It really has been an impressive piece of engineering to get the bridge into place.

“The recent spell of fair weather has allowed good progress to be made on this ambitious scheme, and with each week that passes you can see the bypass taking shape.”

Forecasts suggest the county’s economy overall could benefit by nearly £50million over the next few decades once the bypass opens.

Dave Bennett, project director for Carillion Plc which is working in partnership with the council on the project, said: “Milestones like these give us a chance to step back and reflect and we’re delighted to say that, despite difficult weather earlier this year, we’re right on track and works are progressing well.

“Structures like Fulbeck Bridge take an immense amount of time to plan to precision before we even think of the physical build, all the while ensuring we’re working with the welfare of everyone involved and the local ecology in mind, so this is a fantastic moment for us to see the bridge fit into place perfectly and with no hitches.”

When the bypass is completed, it will link the A1 to the already completed Pegswood Bypass and complete the link to Ashington and Blyth.

More information about the scheme is available at www.morpethnorthernbypass.org and road users can stay up-to-date with any closures for the remaining works by following it on Twitter – @MorpethBypass