Dualling the A1 north of Morpeth could generate £376million to the local economy, states a Northumberland County Council report which has today been passed on to the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency.
The study also estimates that transforming the road could result in the creation of 2,000 jobs and 12,000 new homes.
Other benefits include:
○ Promoting sustainable growth along the A1 route with better connections between markets;
○ Supporting and promoting growth across a range of high quality business locations and service and manufacturing sector companies;
○ Reducing business costs and attracting new businesses to Northumberland and the wider region as the road network becomes more reliable and efficient;
○ Improving access to markets for existing businesses; both for their goods and to sources of labour;
○ Enabling economies of scale and critical mass in employment growth areas;
○ Complementing investment in the strategic road network in Tyne and Wear and North Yorkshire to the south and bolstering the case for more investment north of the border.
The report also states that communities and businesses in south-east Northumberland towns including Ashington and Blyth will also benefit from improved connection to the A1 on completion of the South East Northumberland Strategic Link Road (Morpeth Northern Bypass).
Coun Grant Davey, leader of the county council, said: “This is a key issue both for local people and the business community. We are keen to build a business case for dualling the A1 in Northumberland as well as looking at the case for investment in other transport projects along the route.
“This is the first time the council has carried out a detailed examination of the potential wider economic benefits of dualling.
“This has been a long-standing priority for the council and we believe dualling will address accident problems, reduce delays and bring clear economic benefits.
“We will be working hard to make our case at national level.”
In April, we reported that the Department for Transport had released a document outlining the study which will detail proposals for the dualling of the A1 north of Newcastle.
The scope document explained that the first part of the feasibility study, looking at the range of proposals, should be completed by the end of this month with the second part, on issues such as affordability and value for money, due to be finished by the autumn.
It states that ‘the study will include consideration of the proposals to dual the A1 between Morpeth and Felton and proposals to dual the A1 between Adderstone and Belford’.
Evidence elsewhere also points to the strong wider economic benefits of highway capacity enhancement.
The Department for Transport Study will be completed in advance of what is hoped will be a positive announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.