Costain wins additional contract for A1 upgrade

Highways England has appointed Costain to design and manage the construction of the A1 Morpeth to Ellingham improvement scheme.

The firm is already involved with the project as main contractor for the A1 Birtley to Coal House scheme.

The work is part of a major road upgrade to improve journeys through some of the North East’s busiest sections of the A1.

The A1 Morpeth to Ellingham project is due to start construction between July and September 2022. The project is expected to finish in 2024/5.

Work will involve the upgrade of more than 12km of the A1 to a dual carriageway between Morpeth and Felton, including construction of a new dual carriageway bypassing the existing A1 between Priests Bridge and Burgham Park.

The A1 Birtley to Coal House project is due to start main construction later this summer and is expected to be complete in 2024/25. In January, transport secretary Grant Shapps approved Highways England’s development consent order for the project.

The scheme runs past the iconic Angel of the North and carries the A1 over the East Coast Main Line. Highways England will be widening the carriageway between junction 65 and 67 to add an additional lane in both directions.

The northbound carriageway will increase to three lanes and the southbound to four. Junction improvements will also be made and the Allerdene railway bridge, which is more than 40 years old, will be replaced.

Between Alnwick and Ellingham a further five miles of the existing A1 will be upgraded to dual carriageway. This will be done along the existing single carriageway road.

Four new compact split-level junctions will be constructed at Highlaws, Fenrother, West Moor and Charlton Mires to providing safe access to and from the A1 as well as maintaining links to the local road network.

Highways England regional delivery director in Yorkshire and the North East Tim Gamon said: “We’re delighted to be working with Costain and design partner Jacobs on these two major upgrades, both of which will be a massive boost for the region’s economy, creating jobs during construction and assisting the region’s future growth.

“They will also increase capacity along the existing carriageway, meaning safer, smoother, more reliable journeys for thousands of people using these sections of the A1 every day.

“Costain is already helping us deliver the A1 Scotswood to North Brunton project so we know they will bring a wealth of expertise to our latest schemes and we look forward to working with them to progress both for the wider benefit of the region.”­

Costain programme director Mal Bell added: “These are critical projects supporting economic growth in the North East, improving traffic flow connecting businesses and communities. Costain will deploy digital tools to improve productivity and effectiveness throughout the programme to enable the timely delivery of safer, greener and more efficient roads.”

(Credit: Nadine Buddoo.

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