July 10, 2019 @ 15:07 by Richard Dawson
Northumberland County Council has approved the route for a new £22.2 million link road designed to ease traffic problems in Blyth, which could be open to traffic as early as 2024.
The proposed route would connect Princess Louise Road to the A192/A189 Three Horseshoes interchange. It’s hoped that the new road will relieve congestion and allow faster, more efficient movement to and from the Port of Blyth.
Blyth has suffered from congestion problems for number of years, with the two main routes through the town centre — the A193 and the A1061 — seeing over 20,000 vehicles a day each.
This congestion has had a knock-on effect on commuters, businesses, and logistics for the Port of Blyth, making life difficult for residents and putting a dampener on the town’s economic growth.
Council leader Peter Jackson emphasised the town’s importance to the wider economy and reiterated the need for improved transport links in the North East.
He said: “Blyth and the surrounding area is an economic powerhouse for our country, and it’s never been recognised as that.
“The Port of Blyth is creating thousands of jobs in the offshore wind industry and it’s going to power our economy for decades to come.
“Blyth is creaking at the seams due to over-development in previous years. The previous council issued planning permissions for thousands of new homes in the town, but there’s never been capacity to take those extra houses and people.
“It’s beyond me why no one before now has come up with a credible plan to sort out the traffic problems.”
Labour councillor Lynne Grimshaw commented: “It can only be beneficial for Blyth, not just for people wanting to go there, but for employment.”
The council cabinet has earmarked a contribution of £3.3m towards funding for the plan, with the remainder of the £22.2m budget expected to come from a Government scheme designed to improve the nation’s transport links.
The proposed road is thought to be high on the list of priorities in the Transport for the North’sapplication, which will bid for funding from a national road improvement pot of £3.5bn.
While there are still a number of logistical issues to resolve before work can begin, including disputes over plans to build over land at a local golf course and housing development, it’s expected that the application for funding will be submitted at the end of July.