Carillion has completed construction work on the £30m Morpeth Northern Bypass, which has taken just under two years to complete and opens up South East Northumberland for development and inward investment opportunities.
Forecasts suggest the project could help create more than 8,000 jobs in the area, with an £47 million economic boost to the county as a whole.
Starting in spring 2015, the bypass is almost 2.5 miles long, 3.6 miles taking into account new slip roads. It will reduce pressure that the town centre endures during rush hour periods.
Northumberland County Council Chief Executive Steven Mason, said: “I’m delighted that this major project is now complete and the bypass is finally open to traffic.
“Now it’s open the bypass will cut travel time, improve safety, ease congestion in Morpeth and open up the south east of the county.”
Carillion has constructed two bridges, two culverts crossing watercourses in sensitive ecological areas, created four new ponds, and sunk a subterranean water tank at Cotting Burn.
David Bennett, project director, said: “The benefits of this project will be felt for generations to come. From concept to completion, building the bypass has been a challenging but fantastic experience for everyone involved.
“There are one or two things left to finish up once the road is open, like the closure of the Northgate A1 junction, but major works are now cpmplete. I thank everyone for their patience and hope an immediate benefit wil be felt by the opening of this new road.”
As well as the economic boost, Carillion has also helped the wider communities that border the enormous site. The firm has helped projects and organisations such as Hill Top Farm, to which they donated materials to aid in the construction of new homes for farm’s donkeys and alpacas.
The project has delivered wider social, environmental and economic benefits – including the retention of four apprentices, creation of three graduate posts and 53% of all sub-contractor spend has been with Northumberland based companies.
A great deal of pioneering innovation and technology has gone into the Morpeth Northern Bypass, resulting in a safer, more efficient project. It has also attracted numerous awards, including a Considerate Constructors Award, Construction Computing Award and a BIG Diversity Challenge honour.
The project has overcome some tough challenges. Heavy rain hit the region in early 2016, causing partial flooding on site, but it did not significantly slow progress. Three water pumps were hired to clear the water so work could continue.
The project worked around bats that were present along the route, with the endangered animals carefully moved by experts to ensure they were relocated to suitable areas where the populations could thrive.
Scott Beattie, project manager, said: “The weather last year was the toughest challenge, but our team was brilliant, working through the rain to make sure we stayed on schedule. I take my hard hat off to them!
“We are immensely proud of the work we have done on site and in the community – we ourselves have become our own small community and it will be a shame when we all move on to other projects, but it’s great to think of the positive impact the Morpeth Northern Bypass is going to have in Northumberland and the North East as a whole.”
Video courtesy of Morpeth TV