Northumberland MP issues fresh calls for dualling of A69 road

Hexham MP Guy Opperman has called for the dualling of the A69 Newcastle to Carlisle road after a number of fatal crashes

The A69 at Greenhead
The A69 at Greenhead

A Northumberland MP has issued fresh calls for the dualling of the A69.

Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman has written to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to request a meeting to discuss the potential for the full dualling of the Newcastle to Carlisle road, which is largely single carriageway to the west of Hexham.

The MP’s action comes after he called for a safety review of the A69 in April last year after a number of fatal crashes.

The following month, Mr McLoughlin revealed the Highways Agency had already commissioned a safety review of the full length of the road, the results of which were said to be expected soon and a road safety action plan “near to completion”, the minister added.

Mr Opperman’s stance also follows calls by Hexham Town Council for the dualling of the road west of the town in 2011.

The MP said the time is right to put the dualling of the road back on the agenda.

He added: “The best way to improve safety of the A69 is to dual it.

Hexham MP Guy Opperman
Hexham MP Guy Opperman
 

“I hope to discuss with the minister how we can make long-term progress on dualling the A69 carriageway. I am afraid the important nature of the road coupled with its single carriageway status is resulting in some very dangerous incidents, people driving too fast toward blind hills, overtaking on double white lines and tailgating are all real problems.

“Yes we need people to drive safely but fundamentally we need to address the issue of no safe overtaking opportunities for a 20-mile or so stretch of the road.”

Mr Opperman also said there would be an “economic dividend” for West Tynedale if the carriageway was dualled which could “transform” the economy of places like Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge.

He added: “Some of our towns in the west would really benefit from the economic regeneration that dualling the A69 would bring.

“I am determined we get this back on the agenda.”

Mr Opperman’s call for action last April came after an accident near Haydon Bridge in which a man was killed after his car collided with a lorry.

In December 2012, a woman was killed in a three-vehicle pile-up on a stretch of single carriageway between Haydon Bridge and Hexham.

In October 2012, a 76-year-old Melkridge man was knocked down and killed as he crossed the A69 walking home from church with his wife and earlier in July, a 66-year-old Cumbrian man was killed in a two-car accident near Hexham. That June a 50-year-old Tyneside man died in a crash on the A69 near Ovingham, east of Hexham.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “There is absolutely no room for complacency, which is why we routinely review the A69.

“The latest study has shown that it has a good accident record but we have to remain vigilant.

“We look forward to receiving the letter from Mr Opperman MP on his concerns for the safety of the A69 and dualling of the road.”

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