Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Extra Lanes Plan to Ease A1 Congestion

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Extra Lanes Plan to Ease A1 Congestion

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson Regional affairs correspondent

EXTRA lanes could be added to a trafffic-plagued stretch of the A1 - but it will mean drivers dropping their speed to 50mph.

Planners at Newcastle Council have revealed they are in talks with Government officials at the Department for Transport over a PS100m A1 improvement plan.

If it goes ahead, it could see the road from the Tyne up to North Brunton in Gosfroth given an extra lane on each direction, making it three lanes wide.

But because it would cost around PS1.7bn to widen the road, planners are looking into making the existing lanes narrower, and eating into the central reservation to create the extra space.

That would mean motorists would have to drive through the section at a 50mph limit.

Harvey Emms, Newcastle's planning and transport director, said talks were ongoing and the council was hoping for news on funding in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

The move follows announcements that the A1 Western Bypass would be handed cash to widen into a three lane road through Gateshead.

Highways Agency offi-cial James Finch told a planning inquiry that the plans would bring in extra capacity to a notorious road.

Speaking of the Western Bypass through Gateshead, Mr Finch said: "It is one of the worst conges-tion hotspots in the motorway network."

The hoped-for Newcastle investment emerged at the latest day of the public planning inquiry into the One Core Strategy. The Gateshead and Newcastle document paves the way for 30,000 new homes as well as shops and roads, over the next two decades.

Planning inspector Martin Pike heard from former Newcastle Central MP Jim Cousins, who said there was a marked lack of clarity on much of the Labourcontrolled council's plans. That concern extended to a proposed new road through Newcastle's outer west. …

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