The A1 and A1(M) - Dualling North of Newcastle & "Completing the Motorway" from the South, plus Western Bypass sections, etc - SkyscraperCity
 

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Old December 2nd, 2009, 04:56 PM   #1
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The A1 and A1(M) - Dualling North of Newcastle & "Completing the Motorway" from the South, plus Western Bypass sections, etc

This story has been in the news for about twenty years or more. Every so often "something seems to be about to happen" or (as on this occasion) a tragedy on the road leads to someone "calling for something to happen". This story is likely to run-and-run (unlike the road) for a long time, so I think it deserves its own thread . .

Fresh calls for action after series of tragedies
Nov 30 2009 by David Black, The Journal

FRUSTRATED politicians are to renew demands for full dualling of the killer A1 through Northumberland – although the chances of major improvements in the next 10 years appear increasingly remote.

The long-running issue of upgrading the Morpeth to Berwick section of the road – described yesterday as an “absolute national scandal” by a senior councillor – has resurfaced following critical comments made last week by north Northumberland coroner Tony Brown.

Speaking after inquests into two accidents which claimed the lives of three drivers on single-lane stretches of the road, he said further preventable deaths were inevitable unless the 45-mile stretch was made continuous dual carriageway.

Amble fisherman Alan Gair died a year ago when his car was hit by a lorry driven by a Dutch driver, who was overtaking a slow-moving crane on a single-lane section near Belford.

Then Embleton man Ian Thompson, and David Clarkson from London, were killed in a smash in February, when Mr Clarkson pulled out from a line of traffic on the single-carriageway Felton bypass.

Mr Brown said the common factor in both accidents was a driver from outside the area who was not used to the lower standard of the road in Northumberland. He branded the section as the “weakest link” in the A1 between London and Edinburgh, and called for investment to prevent further fatalities.

Plans were drawn up years ago for dualling schemes at both Belford and the Morpeth to Felton stretch, but neither has gone ahead because of a lack of money.

In addition, A1 dualling north of Morpeth was not included by the North East Interim Regional Transport Board in its latest submission for Government funding, which covers the period up to 2019.

Yesterday Berwick MP Alan Beith said he would be raising the coroner’s comments with ministers, but said the A1 in Northumberland was caught between the Government’s refusal to classify it as a national strategic route and limited funding for regional schemes.

“Both of the accidents referred to by the coroner happened on sections where dualling schemes were drawn up in the past. These are schemes which should have gone ahead, and still need to. Motorists travelling from other parts of the country tend to assume that the A1 is dual carriageway throughout its length, and drive as though it is.

“The reality is that it is going to be an ongoing annual battle to get sections of the A1 dualled, and we have to address the economic case as much as the safety issue.”

County council leader Jeff Reid said: “The state of the A1 in Northumberland is an absolute national scandal and disgrace. It is a tragedy for the families involved in these accidents that the Government doesn’t listen to the safety argument.

“We have got the issue back on the regional agenda and at every opportunity we will push for dualling of the whole road. We have to focus on the economic argument in terms of jobs, tourism and connectivity.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The A1 north of Newcastle is a regional road, which means any proposals to upgrade it are a matter for the Interim Regional Transport Board, which has to decide on priorities for the North East.

“The latest list of transport priorities submitted to ministers by the RTB this year did not include the A1 in Northumberland. It is open to the RTB to submit amended advice to us at any time.”

These are schemes which should have gone ahead, and still need to
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 05:00 PM   #2
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Campaign needed for dualling the A1;
VOICE OF THE NORTH, Nov 30, 2009

I WELCOME the North Northumberland Coroner, Tony Brown's comments at the inquest into two driver fatalities, as a result of the head-on collision last February on the single carriageway Felton bypass and his intended approach to the Highways Agency, emphasising the necessity of upgrading and dualling the full length of the A1 (The Journal, November 26).

Bearing in mind that this collision, and a similar RTC in October 2007, were both as a result of overtaking on a single carriageway road, he raised an important point when he emphasised that drivers from outside the region or the country must forget that they are not still on a dual road much of the way north of Morpeth, after having driven up from the south on motorway or motorway standard dual carriageway. It is especially tragic that two innocent local drivers, on their way to work, were killed by careless drivers from elsewhere.

Recently, I have observed some 13 miles of excavations taking place alongside that 25-mile section of A1 from Dishforth Scotch Corner, apparently with the intention of upgrading to a six-lane highway.

I would have thought on safety grounds alone, there was a far greater need to dual the A1 across Northumberland, especially starting with the very dangerous seven-mile section from Morpeth to Felton, as a matter of highest urgency, followed by the remaining 30 or so miles between Alnwick and Berwick.

It is high time that the regional MPs, local authorities, One North East, and business organisations promoted an effective regional campaign.

BILL SHARPLES, Wallsend, North Tyneside.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 05:01 PM   #3
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It needs to happen, but never will, atleast not in the next 15 years. The country going bankrupt has seen to that, and I believe HSR will come first, and that itself will take an age to ever happen.

Anyway, us in the NE can't expect that, I mean the Metro might get all of it's money needed, we might get put onto a HSR route, the A19 might get all of the funding needed so that the roundabouts can be cleared away, and now we are asking to have the A1 duelled, who do we think we are?, the south?

For the record, I'm sure I created or atleast joined a 10Downing st petition for this a few month's back, I'll try to find it.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 06:19 PM   #4
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this does need to happen, and will strengthen links between here and scotland. it is sickening when you are going up the road and you see those signs telling you to drive safe "40 deaths on this road since 1990" or something stupid like that. it's almost worded like a threat! My response to the stats wouldnt be telling people to drive safely, they do that anyway, but "Upgrade needed now".
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 06:30 PM   #5
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Chris, I will be very happy to sign that petition, can you attach a link?
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 07:03 PM   #6
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Chris, I will be very happy to sign that petition, can you attach a link?
Just looking through, and unfortunatly it was for one that had passed, unfortunatly it didn't recieve 1,000 signatures, so didn't even get a response.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 07:24 PM   #7
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just came back from Edinburgh this afternoon and it was a bloody nightmare, the A1 has currenty been re-routed/diverted throuth the centre of Belford (the original route) with the bypass undergoing improvements !! ... I normally use the alternative route A68
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:04 PM   #8
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^ A68 is my preferred route, but almost lost my life on that road once. I was coming home in heavy rain and had already passed two cars which had left the road. Came round a bend and hit a huge puddle and the back-end of the car kicked out. Thankfully I went sideways into a big grass verge, which was lucky as there are steep hills on most stretches of the road.... I was bloody shaken up though!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by toonlad View Post
^ A68 is my preferred route, but almost lost my life on that road once. I was coming home in heavy rain and had already passed two cars which had left the road. Came round a bend and hit a huge puddle and the back-end of the car kicked out. Thankfully I went sideways into a big grass verge, which was lucky as there are steep hills on most stretches of the road.... I was bloody shaken up though!
Lived for a few years on the A68 (almost literally) in an old farm cottage at the side of the road, just north of Corbridge. I knew the big landowner in the area, and he was always repairing his 'dry stone walls' around about our cottage, as cars and lorries and vans regularly came off the A68 and through the walls.

Basically the same reason every time mind . . too much speed and too little care on a steep, humped and narrowish road, full of corners and hidden turn-offs.

Apart from that, lovely countryside round there mind!!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:46 PM   #10
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The coroner was right: a big problem is the constant changing between single and dual carriageway. Driver A coming off a dual to single, say, southbound, may not remember - the oncoming lane may be empty as a slow-moving vehicle to the south is blocking northbound traffic. He/she sees no oncoming, thinks it is a dual, and overtakes, approaching a crest... It is all too easy to imagine, and made worse by what I see as inconsistency in road marking. As I understand it, lines separating acrriageways should be 'long dashes'; those between lanes in the same direction 'short dashes'. But how often is this observed? I'd be interested to see a correlation between inaccurate lane markings and major accidents.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
A1 upgrade rejected by transport secretary
TRANSPORT Secretary Lord Adonis yesterday rejected calls to upgrade the A1 in Northumberland despite fresh warnings that it is a death trap.

His uncompromising stance came after Tyne Bridge MP David Clelland directly raised with him the concerns of a coroner who blasted the safety of the road following a head-on smash that claimed the lives of two drivers.

North Northumberland coroner Tony Brown said the A1 from Morpeth to Berwick was the “weakest link” in the road between London and Edinburgh because of its dangerous mixture of single and dual carriageway sections.

He predicted there would be more preventable deaths in the future unless the road was given a higher priority for upgrading and dualling.

Mr Brown was speaking last week at an inquest for drivers Ian Thompson, 51, and David Clarkson, 42, who died when their vehicles collided head-on on the single carriageway section of the A1 Felton bypass in February.

Despite that damning indictment, the Transport Secretary refused to offer any money to immediately upgrade the road and declared it was up to local authorities to fund any work.

But Mr Clelland highlighted how councils do not have sufficient resources to upgrade the road given other competing demands. He said: “Secretary of State, one of the objectives as a department is to contribute to better safety by reducing the risk of death and injury.

“This stretch of road is notorious for serious injuries and deaths – surely it has to be taken into account.”

The Labour MP also said: “People are going to die as a result of the state of this road unless something is done about it.”

But Lord Adonis said: “That is an issue for the local authorities that are responsible for the road.

“The issue for them, of course, is how they prioritise projects within their region.

“And again I know that is a fraught issue too because there are more projects that people want to fund than there is funding available.”

He also hit back at claims the road should be switched to the national strategic road network, which could secure access to Whitehall funding, rather than being a local route.

“It is not that it doesn’t meet the requirements in terms of traffic flows for being part of the strategic road network, it doesn’t come close to meeting them,” he said.

And even if the A1 was switched, Lord Adonis said it would be “unlikely” to get early investment because of competing pressures.

He added: “This is an important issue which the region needs to weigh as it makes its own priorities on spending.”
http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-e...1634-25310424/
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:16 PM   #12
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There are so many examples of this sort of thinking.

Lord Adonis, 3rd December 2009 . . .
“It is not that it doesn’t meet the requirements in terms of traffic flows for being part of the strategic road network, it doesn’t come close to meeting them,”

An analogy . .

I remember being told (often) that we in Newcastle on SSC couldn't have our own sub-forum, because we didn't have enough current posts or posters.

I said that it was because we didn't have the 'inrastructure' that we didn't have the volume of posts. The 'demand' was there and the 'need' was there, it is just that you cannot always QUANTIFY that, until the infrastructure is there to be used . . .

Well, what happened when we got the sub-forum??

I know they are two very different things, but what do we all think the "dualled A1" between Newcastle and Edinburgh would be like, in terms of usage (and the potential prosperity to North East England that it could bring) if we had the 'inrastructure' of a decent A1 Motorway??
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:20 PM   #13
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In other words, "F*ck off, other projects elsewere are more important".

I said their was no hope of this happening, and with the roundabouts on the A19 having to be replaced for when the 2nd Tyne tunnel opens, it might me we will have to wait untill about 2020 before we can hand the A1 over as a matter of urgency for the region.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:26 PM   #14
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I know they are two very different things, but what do we all think the "dualled A1" between Newcastle and Edinburgh would be like, in terms of usage (and the potential prosperity to North East England that it could bring) if we had the 'infrastructure' of a decent A1 Motorway??
It's a major route between not only the NE and Scotland, but England and Scotland, the M74 on the otherside of the country is being over run, and the only other reasonable route, especially for HGV's. Places like Aberdeen rely on the A1, because unless they are travelling to the west of England, they are going out of their way to use a motorway. The A1 needs to be upgraded to help traffic flow to places like Edinburgh, and Aberdeen.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 04:29 PM   #15
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There are so many examples of this sort of thinking.

Lord Adonis, 3rd December 2009 . . .
“It is not that it doesn’t meet the requirements in terms of traffic flows for being part of the strategic road network, it doesn’t come close to meeting them,”

An analogy . .

I remember being told (often) that we in Newcastle on SSC couldn't have our own sub-forum, because we didn't have enough current posts or posters.

I said that it was because we didn't have the 'inrastructure' that we didn't have the volume of posts. The 'demand' was there and the 'need' was there, it is just that you cannot always QUANTIFY that, until the infrastructure is there to be used . . .

Well, what happened when we got the sub-forum??

I know they are two very different things, but what do we all think the "dualled A1" between Newcastle and Edinburgh would be like, in terms of usage (and the potential prosperity to North East England that it could bring) if we had the 'inrastructure' of a decent A1 Motorway??
Agreed. And it is more than that actually, people are actively deterred from using the route because it is dangerous and unreliable. upgrading to full dual carriageway not only encourages further use, but removes the disincentive that currently exists. Unfortunately govt in the UK for a long time takes the attitude that infrastructure upgrades should be implemented only AFTER there is pent-up demand, rather than to anticipate and create that demand itself. Better road links connecting Newcastle and Edinburgh will improve economic connectivity between the two regional centres and create demand which would over time pay back any such upgrade.

And on top of that there is a simple safety issue.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 02:43 AM   #16
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Just wondering: does anyone know whether the Scottish government ever commented on this at all? I know this is quite far south but, as Chris mentioned, it is a major link into and out of Scotland. Perhaps they may have some leverage.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 02:48 AM   #17
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Just wondering: does anyone know whether the Scottish government ever commented on this at all? I know this is quite far south but, as Chris mentioned, it is a major link into and out of Scotland. Perhaps they may have some leverage.
Scotland are in favour of this, and are trying themselves to duell the section north of the border. I found info like this on the Scottish parliment website a while ago, just log on to it and type in A1, you should be able to find it easy enough. Anyway, I have been up and down that road in my time, and I can say the section north of the border is far better then that south, though it does to need duelling, atleast Scotland acknowledges that.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 03:02 AM   #18
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I thought the Scottish Exec had agreed to dual it a few years back, but due to inaction from the English and no commitment to do anything south of the border they delayed it. I can see why, whats the point in having a high spec dual carriageway to the border?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 07:02 PM   #19
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More people getting involved today (22nd December 2009) which can only be a good thing, but, in reality, we are still no further forward with this . . .




The above article suggests that the campaign 'be escalated' in the run up to the General Election next year. While I cannot disagree with the fact that it needs escalating, my experience is that politicians are quite likely to SAY anything (AGREE with anything) in the run-up to an election, but then quietly forget about it straight away, afterward!
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 02:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
I remember being told (often) that we in Newcastle on SSC couldn't have our own sub-forum, because we didn't have enough current posts or posters.

I said that it was because we didn't have the 'inrastructure' that we didn't have the volume of posts. The 'demand' was there and the 'need' was there, it is just that you cannot always QUANTIFY that, until the infrastructure is there to be used . . .

Well, what happened when we got the sub-forum??
although you're right things are a bit more gothic-centric than that. my girlfriend is from ... newcastle! perhaps if government ministers like adonis were from newcastle then newcastle would get better transport links. generally the constituencies of senior ministers tend to benefit hugely from the fact they have their mps as ministers. just look at what was lavished on huntingdon or hull to see what i mean, or listen to the jokes on yes minister about why there were two motorways from london to oxford and none to cambridge from london (i know this is factually incorrect).
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