Another key section of work on Morpeth’s £30m bypass will be complete this week.
For the past six months engineers have been building a new underpass on the A1 between the River Wansbeck and the A697 turn-off, which will ultimately allow traffic to join and leave the new bypass at its western end once open.
The work has meant drivers using a new section of road. From Thurs 15th Dec, work will commence to switch drivers back onto the main A1. It will be carried out during the night to minimise any traffic delays weather dependant and may take a few nights.
Weather permitting, from Saturday December 17th motorists will once again stay on the A1 and drive over the new underpass.
It marks the latest stage of Northumberland County Council’s Morpeth Northern Bypass scheme, which will cut congestion in Morpeth and reduce travel time and costs between the A1 and the South East Northumberland.
Work started on the St. Leonard’s underpass in June 2016 and 13,500 cubic metres of material was removed from the A1 embankment. Over the last 5 months 7,000 cubic metres of structural backfill, 405 tonnes of precast concrete beams, 364 cubic metres of concrete and 300 reinforced concrete panels have been put in place to create the new underpass.
Forecasts suggest the county’s economy overall could benefit by nearly £50million over the next few decades after the new stretch of road opens next year.
Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet member for Local Services, said: “It’s exciting to see this major scheme nearing its end and another key stage of the work complete.
“This method of construction using the future slip roads whilst we constructed the underpass has allowed the works to be carried out much more quickly and safely than other methods and also minimised traffic delays.
“Once complete the bypass will cut travel time, ease congestion in Morpeth and open up the south east of the county for further economic growth, bringing benefits for all.”
Dave Bennett Carillion Project Director, said: “We’re reaching some great milestones on the project, and I’m sure motorists will be pleased to hear the A1 through works will be reopened this week.
“We’ve made fantastic progress, and the next few months will be very busy as we connect the final few sections and put the finishing touches on the bypass. We’re very excited to see the project near completion, and we’d like to thank road users and the surrounding communities for their continued patience.”
The 2.4 mile bypass is scheduled for completion in Spring 2017.
More information on the Morpeth Northern Bypass can be found at www.morpethnorthernbypass.org and road users can stay up to date with closures for works by following the project on Twitter at @MorpethBypass