A government road scheme has been described by a local MEP as “trying to upgrade North East transport on the cheap’”.
The proposed ‘expressways’ scheme would remove roundabouts and traffic lights from some of the country’s A-roads, creating motorway-style slip roads and junctions to ease traffic flow.
On the list of projects is turning the A1 north of Newcastle into such an expressway. Restrictions are likely to be placed on the new class of road, including new traffic rules and a ban on bicycles.
But UKIP Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott believes that the plan is fundamentally flawed, because there is still no commitment to make the whole length of the A1 dual carriageway.
“The whole of the A1 must be dualled, with no exceptions. If they were planning to do that, then I would be all for this new proposed ‘expressway’ which would help to cut journey times still further. But my worry is that once again, the government is trying to upgrade North East transport on the cheap.
The Chancellor’s ‘Northern economic powerhouse’ looks pretty shaky when London has 25 times the public spending per capita on transport that we get here in the North East.
“My simple message to the politicians in Westminster is this: Stop expecting us to be grateful when we’re given the crumbs under the table after London has had its share.”
UKIP has been campaigning for the dualling for the A1 and A69 for years, since Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall’s announcement at the 2013 North East Conference.
Mr Arnott has previously branded the single-carriageway A1 as ‘a disgrace’ given that it is the main road between London and Edinburgh, saying that development of business requires proper transport links.
The new expressways will be an entirely new road classification, intended as a halfway house between an A-road and a motorway. Similar transport schemes exist already in Italy, Holland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.