D-day for town bypass

A MAJOR road project to reduce traffic congestion in Morpeth is in the final straight.

Formal plans for the Morpeth Northern Bypass, which will link the A197 Whorral Bank roundabout with the A1 south of Fairmoor, are to be determined in two months’ time.

The proposals have been worked on since the completion of the Pegswood Bypass in 2007 and a public exhibition at Morpeth Town Hall in 2010 was met with a largely positive response.

Councils in Morpeth, Pegswood and Hebron have also generally welcomed the scheme.

If it is approved, Northumberland County Council will receive £21.1million of the total £30million cost from the Government after the project passed a stringent value-for-money assessment by the Department for Transport.

Estimates from traffic modelling suggest that the bypass would reduce traffic in Morpeth town centre by 22 per cent, and it is also planned for the road to unlock potential development sites for housing and businesses to the north of the town.

A county council spokeswoman said the application is expected to go to the May meeting of the authority’s Planning and Environment Committee.