Major works are now approaching completion on the £30million Morpeth Northern Bypass and the road is set to be open in the near future.
This week, the 2.5km section of the road linking Whorral Bank to the A192 was completed. Engineers are currently working on the final part of the project to link the road to the A1.
It will cut traffic congestion in Morpeth and reduce travel time and costs between the A1 and south east Northumberland.
The scheme – a partnership between Northumberland County Council and Carillion, which is carrying out the works – will boost the county’s economy in the long-term by an estimated £47million.
Carillion project manager Scott Beattie said the road is expected to be fully open to traffic at the end of this month.
He added that since the start of the year, the works have included road surfacing, street-lighting, signage, building roundabouts, finishing off structures such as the bridge at Fulbeck and planting trees and hedges.
An innovative building information modelling process was used during the scheme.
This involved producing designs in a 3D format and linking them to a 4D programme, which enabled the engineers to add in existing roads and infrastructure, and helped to identify and resolve potential problem issues before construction began.
County council leader Grant Davey said: “It’s fantastic that major works on this prestigious scheme are now reaching completion.
“It’s going to provide so many benefits for the people of Northumberland. The bypass will cut travel time, improve safety, ease congestion in Morpeth and open up the south east of the county for further economic growth.
“Pegswood on the western end of the bypass is also set to become a real commuter village, which will no doubt see a rise in house values due to its new easy access to the A1.”
To mark the final stage of the project, children representing the four parishes covered by the bypass – Morpeth, Pegswood, Mitford and Hebron – planted a couple of trees at a location about halfway along the route.
The group were pupils from Morpeth All Saints First School, Tritlington First School and Pegswood Primary School.
The two-year construction period has included the following statistics – moving 310,000 cubic metres of soil, creating 9,300 metres of hedgerow, laying down 34,000 tonnes of tarmac and planting 36,000 trees and shrubs.
Dave Bennett, Carillion project director, said: “This has been a hugely significant project and the whole process has been a challenging but fantastic experience.
“Hopefully, the people of Morpeth will see and feel an immediate benefit of having a new route around the town and it won’t be long before the economic benefits are being felt across the county and region. “Local residents have been brilliant throughout the whole process and drivers, on the whole, have been patient and understanding of this essential work – I want to thank them for their patience and support throughout.”
For more information, facts and figures and imagery go to www.morpethnorthernbypass.org