AN extra £3.9m has been handed out by the government to maintain Northumberland’s road network.
The news has been welcomed as a “significant contribution” which will do a lot of good by the councillor in charge of Northumberland County Council’s highways department.
Coun Alan Thompson, executive member for highways, said: “I am pleased that the government is trusting local authorities to know where this extra investment in our road network can be best targeted. We have a good highways team here in Northumberland and they will be able to do a lot of good for road users with another £3.9m.
“This significant contribution will accelerate our programme of planned maintenance and pre-emptive preparation to reduce the risks of flooding and protect vulnerable road sections in extreme winter conditions.
“Along with our roads we have well over 4,000 assets to maintain including 1,100 road bridges, nearly 1,000 culverts and over 800 foot bridges. After the disappointing lack of action we’ve seen on dualling the A1 through Northumberland in the Autumn Statement, this money is a useful consolation prize from the Chancellor and will go a long way towards helping to keep our road network up to scratch.”
The extra investment is part of a £333m fund for road maintenance announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which included bringing the A1 up to motorway standard between Newcastle and London.
However, the bid to get the route dualled the extra 50 miles through Northumberland has received good news that campaigner Anne-Marie Trevelyan has secured a meeting with the new Secretary of State for Transport in the New Year.
She said: “Following the Chancellor’s positive messages in his Autumn Statement about the importance of dualling the A1 to the Scottish Border, I wrote again to the Department for Transport asking for a meeting to discuss the first tranche of evidence which our campaign team has collated since the summer on economic impacts to local and regional businesses.
“I am very pleased that our continued efforts and those of all political parties raising this critical north east issue at Westminster alongside the campaign is making an impact. The reality is that talking about it isn’t enough - businesses from Scotland down to Teesside have to help us build the economic evidence to prove to Whitehall just how vital this investment is for the future of the north east.
“I would encourage all businesses to take a few minutes to complete our survey at www.surveymonkey.com/a1businessview. We can build a really strong case if every business in the region shares their views. We must able to justify the investment commitment to the Treasury.”