POLITICIANS and campaigners have welcomed the latest step forward in the plans to dual the A1 in Northumberland.
The Treasury announced last week that the scheme is included in the Government’s future infrastructure programme and a feasibility study will be carried out.
Residents and businesses have been urging ministers to upgrade the remaining 40 miles of single carriageway on the A1 north of Newcastle to the Scottish border for many years as it would reduce congestion along these sections and boost the county’s economy.
In early 2011, the Government agreed to reclassify the stretch of road into the national roads network and this latest measure means it will invest resources to come up with a detailed business case.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Campaign Director for the Dual the A1 group, said: “I am pleased that the A1 dualling review is to be set in motion and that the detailed business case will now be drawn up. This is what we have been calling for and now we can get onto putting together the programme of works.
“It is great news that our campaigning has been heard, but there is still ample work to do to ensure these promises are delivered.
“Our efforts have now opened the door for us to work with Whitehall to make clear how dualling the A1 will impact on the region and the UK’s future growth.”
Berwick-upon-Tweed MP Sir Alan Beith has already met the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Danny Alexander, to discuss the detail of these improvements following the Spending Review announcement.
He said: “The Chief Secretary has assured me that there is provision for dualling parts of the A1 in the allocation of funding and that the study to be carried out is not about whether the work to improve the road should be done, but is a technical study on road design.
“I will continue to hold regular discussions with ministers and keep up the pressure for the study to be carried out quickly and effectively.”
Sir Alan added: “Ministers now clearly accept that A1 improvement is a priority for the next few years and I welcome the personal commitment that Mr Alexander has made in putting it high on the coalition Government’s agenda.”
Businesses can share their views about the importance of fully dualling the road at www.dualthea1.com
Mr Alexander also announced in the Spending Review that there will be increased capacity on the East Coast Main Line.