One of the final hurdles before work starts on the Morpeth Northern bypass was cleared today after the Government gave the plans the green light.
The Secretary of State for Transport approved the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the £30million scheme, finalising all the necessary consents for the bypass, such as planning approval, compulsory purchase and traffic orders.
A full and final bid will now be submitted to the Department for Transport showing detailed expenditure plans. If there are no legal challenges to the DCO in the coming weeks, construction will start in the spring of 2015 and will take around 18 months to complete.
The scheme is the second phase of the A1 to South East Northumberland link road. It will create a 3.8km bypass to the north of Morpeth, running from the Whorral Bank roundabout to the A1 trunk road between Fairmoor and Lancaster Park. Phase two follows the successful completion, in 2007, of the Pegswood bypass.
The plans got a further boost after being given a green rating by a project assurance review team from Local Partnerships, working for the Treasury, who visited Northumberland County Council and looked at all elements of the planned work.
Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “This is great news for residents, the county and the wider region and we should soon be in a position to actually start the construction work. It was a great boost to get a green rating from the review team who said it was the best prepared and supported project they had seen in 14 years of doing these reviews.
“The new bypass will open up new areas for development and alleviate traffic pressures in Morpeth town centre and surrounding villages. It will greatly improve traffic links to towns in the south east of the county.”