Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A1 improvements "kicked into long grass"

A leading Liberal Democrat Councillor in Gateshead, whose ward borders the A1, has attacked the government over the failure to improve the A1.


Hopes that the A1 Western By-pass could be improved to cut congestion (and therefore pollution) and to make traffic flow more easily have been put on hold yet again following recent comments by Labour’s Transport Minister.


Rosie Winterton MP told the region earlier this month that no work on improvements to the road will be carried out for the time being as the Highways Agency was studying options for the road.


“This is a classic case of kicking an issue into the long grass,” said Councillor Peter Maughan in the Liberal Democrats’ email newsletter to residents of Whickham and Dunston.


“We are being told that any short term improvements will be very minor, such as clearing accidents more quickly.


“This is not a solution to the problem of a road that is completely inadequate for the job it has to do.


“Every day, my constituents in Dunston have to put up with thousands of slow moving vehicles stuck in a traffic jam going through the heart of the village. This means more noise and pollution endured by residents.


“Whilst there is cross party support here in the North East for the view that major improvement to the A1 is vital for the future of the region’s jobs, businesses and environment, that message just isn’t getting through to ministers in London who prevaricate about the future of this road.”


Councillor Maughan, who is also Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Blaydon, is writing to Rosie Winterton to urge her to back improvements to the A1 and to set a timetable for the work to be carried out.



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