The leader of Northumberland County Council has reiterated his disappointment and concern over Highways England’s handling of consultation over the closure of the A1 next month.
Councillor Peter Jackson met with senior Highways England staff, along with Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, where a number of concessions were secured for communities along the affected area. However the work will still be going ahead as planned from March 2.
The work, along a four-mile stretch of the A1 between Wandylaw and Warenford, will see the A1 closed in both directions for up to 17 days, with most traffic diverted along the A697.
Cllr Jackson said: “While it was a constructive meeting I remain angry about the lack of information given out and the unacceptably short period of consultation, for which Highways England have apologised to me. Giving just a few weeks notice for a major scheme which will shut a strategic route through our county and seriously impact thousands of residents is not acceptable.” “We raised a number of local concerns and Highways England have promised to speak directly with affected residents and businesses in the next few days.”
At the meeting Highways England pledged to:
- Allow 24-hour access to emergency services vehicles.
- Facilitate round-the-clock access to businesses and homes along the route.
- Provide 24-hour vehicle recovery service on the A697 and the local traffic diversion via Bamburgh and Seahouses during the A1 works
- Organise much more comprehensive road signage detailing the diversion routes
- Improve its consultation with communities and businesses along the route
Cllr Jackson added: “While this situation is far from ideal we have worked to achieve a number of concessions from Highways England during these major roadworks.
“We are working with them to minimise the impact on the local community and our road network arising from their planned closure
“It is our expectation Highways England will be meeting all reasonably incurred additional costs associated with this particularly given the significant level of savings that their total road closure offers, when compared to night time closures.
“It is clear from our meeting that this is not just the normal resurfacing which we are used to but a major reconstruction of the fabric of the road down to its very foundations.
“Not only is this work necessary it does reinforce the calls for full dualling of the A1 along its entire length and we will continue to pursue every avenue to press for this to happen.”