Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Great North Layby

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Great North Layby

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rhodri Phillips

Government is accused of ignoring North-East as work begins on A74 upgrade

Frustration over the poor state of the North-East's roads intensified last night after work began on a pounds 175m upgrade of the west coast route between England and Scotland.

The extension of the M6 to fill the Cumberland Gap will allow drivers to travel by motorway from London to Glasgow and on to Edinburgh for the first time.

Transport bosses said the upgrade of the 5.8-mile stretch of the A74 between Carlisle and Guards Mill, just to the south of the Scottish border, due to be completed by 2008, would provide the "missing link" in the motorway network between Scotland and England.

But, politicians and business leaders in the North-East last night criticised the Government's continuing failure to improve the east coast route between England and Scotland and bypassing the region.

They spoke of their frustration at seeing other regions receive investment ahead of the North-East and renewed calls for the A1 north of Newcastle to be dualled.

Tyne Bridge MP David Clelland said: "We always seem to miss out when there is money being handed out for roads. There is an urgent need to improve transport infrastructure in the North-East and it is frustrating when we see millions being spent in other regions.

"The North-East has the poorest road infrastructure of any region in England and the Government needs to give it greater priority. We need a major motorway link from Scotland to the South which passes through the North-East, not just along the west coast. I would like to see the M1 extend all the way to Newcastle and the A1 dualled from Newcastle up to the Scottish border. The Government has promised some upgrades, although whether they will be sufficient remains to be seen."

North-East Chamber of Commerce transport spokeswoman Rachel Spence said the Government seemed to have bypassed the North-East. She said: "It seems the Government is committed to the west coast and sees it as the main primary road route from England to Scotland. The investment in the west coast will encourage motorists travelling from Edinburgh to London to bypass our region. …

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