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Region's roads 'need upgrading'

Date 21 Feb 2007
Author The Editor

The region’s road network needs major improvements if proposed motoring charges are to be acceptable, according to the North East branch of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). ICE is part of a group of organisations investigating if, and how, the UK should introduce a nationwide system of road pricing. Among the group’s recommendations is that the UK needs road pricing, but measures including infrastructure improvements must also be implemented.

John Jeffrey, chairman of ICE North East, said: “We are calling on Government to put a timetable in place for road pricing to improve economic competitiveness, help the country meet environmental commitments and raise the quality of life for people. But this must be implemented alongside a package of other works, most crucial for the North East being infrastructure improvements.

“With Government continuing to put off the publication of proposals to upgrade the A1 until unlinked transport innovation fund work in Newcastle is completed, the regional economy continues to be threatened by inadequate road networks, particularly in the north of the region. “In many other areas of the North East, such as Darlington, constant road works continue to make travelling difficult for motorists. “A balanced approach is needed with some new investment in road capacity, together with targeted applications of charging in highly congested areas and possibly where new capacity creates an enhanced level of service.”

The problems highlighted by ICE included congestion on the A1 around Gateshead, the A19 at the Tyne Tunnel and Tees Viaduct, and the A66 around Darlington; Poor accident records for the A1 north of Newcastle and the A66 near Scotch Corner; and high levels of congestion in urban areas.�

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