Decision delayed on A1 upgrade again to consider multimodal alternatives

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has delayed his decision on National Highways A1 upgrade in Northumberland between Morpeth and Ellingham so more ‘multimodal alternatives can be considered first.

The extension is in light of the written statement made by the Secretary of State on 26 May 2022 regarding the Union Connectivity Review.

The proposed development comprises the widening of approximately 12.8 miles stretch of the A1 between Morpeth to Ellingham, with approximately 9 miles online widening and approximately 3.8 miles of new offline highway.

The Secretary of State received the Examining Authority’s report on 5 October 2021 and the original deadline for a decision was extended from 5 January 2022 to 5 June 2022 following a written ministerial statement laid on 15 December 2021 to allow for further consideration of environmental matters.

The deadline for a new decision is 5 December 2022.

In his review of UK transport systems, Hendy raised reservations about the benefits of the proposed A1 scheme and instead called for a “multimodal study of the East Coast Corridor” to identify the best opportunities for improvement.

The £261M A1 Morpeth to Ellingham project was earmarked to start construction between July and September 2022, with Costain lined up as principal contractor. The project is expected to finish in 2024/25.

The upgrade will see work carried out on more than 12km of the A1 to a dual carriageway between Morpeth and Felton, including construction of a new dual carriageway bypassing the existing A1 between Priests Bridge and Burgham Park.

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