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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Tynedale set to benefit from major road schemes in next financial year

DESPITE claims Tynedale has been short-changed by Northumberland County Council on highways maintenance, a series of major road schemes will take place in the district in the next financial year.

One of the main beneficiaries will be the former trunk road the A68/A696, taken over by the county council from the Highways Agency 10 years ago.

The road came with a half-million pound sweetener from central Government for future maintenance – but that was spent years ago.

In this year’s local transport plan, there are strengthening and resurfacing works between the Border Forest caravan park and Byrness Hotel (£140,000); the Barrasford Park area (£120,000); north of the Highlander pub at Belsay (£80,000); and Kirkwhelpington bends (£60,000).

A further £30,000 is to be spent on improving accident blackspots on the A68 on the bends at Swinburne Quarry, the Littleharle/Newhouses crossroads on the A696 section and the Harnham Bradford junction.

An additional £40,000 has been set aside to improve safety for vehicles waiting to turn right on the A68 at the Healey/Broomley crossroads.

Councillors were told at the March meeting of the county council’s west area committee that more than 300 miles of the county’s roads were in need of major repair work, which would cost in the region of £80m.

Whilst the majority of the road maintenance programme was aimed at addressing the structural decline of roads, provision had also been made for safety fencing renewal, landslips, drainage problems, footway repairs and public rights of way maintenance.

Decisions on which schemes were to be prioritised were based on need, not geographical location.

Addressing the backlog in the bridge strengthening programme remained a priority, with the current backlog standing at over £80m.

However, much of the £2.7m budget for bridge work in the next financial year is centred on Tynedale.

The third phase of Wark Bridge would cost £675,000, the Ovingham Bridge refurbishment £873,000, and Dilston Bridge £225,000, with a further £75,000 to be spent on a retaining wall at Bellingham Tyne Bridge.

Other major schemes in this year’s programme include a £140,000 resurfacing scheme for the A695 through Stocksfield, £220,000 to repair river erosion on the Barhaugh road near Alston, and £150,000 to repair carriageway edge failure on the B6319 at Newbrough.

A further £920,000 will be spent in the coming year on 14 resurfacing schemes at Codlaw Hill, at Humshaugh; Westgate and Main Street in Haltwhistle; Middle Drive at Darras Hall; Grange Road at Stamfordham; Park End at Simonburn; Parmontley to Ninebanks on the C291; Beech Hill and Beech Avenue in Hexham; Divet Hill west at Great Bavington; Wentworth Park at Allendale; North Road at Ponteland; and Beaufront Avenue and Langley Avenue in Hexham.

The programme also includes £40,000 to build a new footbridge over the Devils’s Water at Corbridge, and £100,000 to re-build footbridges at Featherstone and Eals, Knarsdale, destroyed by a flood.

A further £10,000 will be spent on a drainage scheme on a path near Corbridge First School.

A further £1m was allocated for preparatory work on future schemes, including £200,000 for the C200 at Bakethin, south of Kielder village, and £160,000 for phase two of work between Otterburn and Greenchesters on the A68.

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