Traffic on the A1 at Newark, during rush-hour on a Friday.
Traffic on the A1 at Newark, during rush-hour on a Friday.

Highways England will begin a review into safety on a stretch of the A1 within the next nine months.

Robert Jenrick, the MP for Newark, met with the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP, on Wednesday.

Mr Jenrick also brought together local MPs of all political parties to put pressure on Highways England to take what he described as serious action.

He was joined by Bassetlaw MP John Mann, whose constituency also contains a stretch of the A1, and Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham.

Nick Harris, executive director operations at Highways England who is the overall head of safety across the road network, also attended.

The MPs asked for a comprehensive safety review of the section of the A1 passing through their constituencies. They say they have seen a rising number of accidents and fatalities in recent years.

They were approached by individual local residents and parish councils, who are concerned about the danger to motorists of using the road, particularly the junction with the A46 and A17 at Newark.

Highways England is said to have confirmed their figures showing a high number of accidents along this stretch, and that they were monitoring this as a matter of concern.

The Minister listened to their concerns and agreed that Highways England would begin a review into safety on this stretch of the A1 by the end of this financial year.

Money has already been set aside to redevelop the A1/A46/A17 junction near Newark, which is one of the key strategic road interchanges of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and the process of developing the options for the project is under way.

The Minister has now set out a timetable for the project.

'Safety is a serious concern'

Planning work has started and will continue throughout this year. Initial proposals will be ready by the end of the financial year and consultation will begin with key stakeholders such as local councils and adjacent land and property owners.

An agreed route for the new Newark Northern By-pass and clear scheme for the Brownhills and Winthorpe roundabouts would be ready by March 2019.

The scheme is estimated to cost around £200m and will be both one of the most expensive and the most technically challenging road building projects in the UK in the next ten years.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Jenrick said: “Safety on the A1 is a serious concern to local residents and the regular accidents and resulting gridlock has a major economic impact on the area.

"I’m pleased a review will now occur.

"And it was re-assuring to hear that the government remains 100% committed to the Newark Northern By-pass. Investing as much as £200m over the next five years in this key point which connects Newark in every direction and is essential to our continued economic success.

"The scale and cost of the project means that we will never be able to rest until the ribbon is cut and I intend to harry and cajole government continuously until that day finally comes.”