Regional business has welcomed the Government’s announcement that 19 major infrastructure projects are due to start in the North East this financial year.
Among the projects beginning are: the A1 Lobley Hill widening scheme, Sunderland Strategic Junctions Improvement Scheme, Ovingham Bridge refurbishment and the Morpeth Surface Water and Port Clarence and Greatham South flood alleviation schemes.
North East Chamber of Commerce policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “Having lobbied extensively for these vitally important infrastructure projects and worked closely with the Department for Transport and Highways Agency, NECC welcomes the assurances from the Prime Minister that these projects will all be started this financial year.
“It is vital that the timeframes do not slip – the quicker these projects are delivered, the more it will help business and the more it helps business the more our region is able to contribute to UK PLC.
“The timetable provided for key North East projects will be welcomed by our members. With around £700m being spent on regional road and rail infrastructure projects in the next three to five years, this investment is long overdue.
“It is good to see work at Lobley Hill being prioritised and brought forward. Along with schemes at both Silverlink and Testos that are scheduled to start in 2016/17, these projects will not only eliminate major congestion pinch points, but also hugely improve regional connectivity around some of our major business hubs.”
Twelve projects are expected to complete in 2014-15 including the £8.6m regeneration of Newcastle Central Station; Four Lane Ends and A188 Junction Improvements; A167 Chester-le-Street, Park Road to Junction 63 Improvements and the A19/A174 Parkway Junction Improvements, Middlesbrough.
The projects due to start construction this year are part of £36bn of planned investment by the Government, which estimates could support over 150,000 jobs in construction and thousands more in other sectors following completion.