Calls for Mousen Bends to be included in A1 improvements

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has written to the Transport Secretary to ask for the Mousen Bends stretch of the A1 to be included in planned improvement works.

Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 11:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2016, 13:11 pm
Anne-Marie Trevelyan with Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin beside the A1.

The £290 million scheme involves dualling the A1 north of Morpeth as far as Ellingham, which it is hoped will lead to full dualling in due course.

The scheme also includes additional overtaking lanes on the Belford bypass and at Fenwick, along with improvements to junctions at Beal, Cheswick and the B6525 Wooler road.

The Highways England’s A1 in Northumberland team recently held a series of roadshows to present possible route options for the dualled road, and to seek local knowledge of junctions in need of improvement.

Mrs Trevelyan, who was briefed on the options prior to the roadshows, told the team that Mousen Bends was the stretch of the A1 she had the most concerns about.

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She said: “I made clear to the Highways England team that Mousen Bends is the most dangerous stretch of the A1 in my constituency with a high rate of accidents and near misses.

“Almost everyone who contacted me in the wake of the roadshows expressed their concerns that Mousen Bends has not been included in the improvement works.

“I understand that this is because the scope of the scheme allows for the dualling itself, and improvements to junctions, which leaves Mousen Bends outside the terms of the project.

“That is why I have asked the Secretary of State to consider including Mousen Bends in the works, or making additional funds available to carry out the work.”

Mrs Trevelyan revealed she had written to Patrick McLoughlin following calls by Berwick councillor Gavin Jones for Mousen Bends to be included in any improvements.

Cllr Jones, Lib Dem member for Berwick North, also expressed concerns that the dualling of the Felton section of the A1, promised before the 2015 election will not start construction until at least 2020.

He said: “I am truly disappointed to see the ‘dualling of the A1’ downgraded to the ‘A1 in Northumberland improvements programme’.

“Speaking with Highways England it appears that the notoriously dangerous Mousen Bends will neither be dualled, nor improved, in the foreseeable future.

“Many residents I speak to are really frustrated about the lack of prioritisation of the A1 and wonder if it will ever get done.

“Improving safety on the A1 must be the highest priority and I want to see effective action to prevent deaths and injuries.”

He added: “We really need to make sure the Conservative Government stick to their commitments and get on with the job of dualling the A1 and improve safety. I am asking the Council to raise this with Mrs Trevelyan and her Government.”

Mousen Bends has previously been the subject of detailed proposals.

A £14m plan to dual the three mile section of single carriageway between Belford and Adderstone, incorporating the Mousen Bends, was shelved in 2006 when the Government decided to classify it as a route of regional importance which meant improvement proposals had to compete for funding with other local authority schemes.

It came after the Highways Agency had already carried out a public consultation exercise which found a majority supported a route to the east of Mousen Hall.