HIGHWAY officials have confirmed that two access roads will be built beside an upgraded stretch of the A1.

Confirmation that side roads will be created between Leeming and Catterick and Scotch Corner and Barton was last night welcomed by community leaders.

The Government announced last month that it was pressing ahead with the upgrade of the A1 to motorway standard between Leeming and Barton after cancelling the scheme in 2010.

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It was feared the original plans signed off following a three-week planning inquiry would be changed under the new proposal and the local access roads would not be included.

However, the Highways Agency has confirmed that the route of the new motorway will follow previous plans – and the local access roads will be built.

Responding to the announcement, North Yorkshire county councillor Michael Heseltine, member for Richmondshire North, said: “I am very pleased to see that work is on-going to include a new local access road between Leeming and Catterick South and Scotch Corner and Barton.

“It looks as if the concerns which some of us expressed at the public enquiry six-years-ago have been taken on board.

“This really is an exciting development which is long overdue, and is great news both locally and for the North-East, and it opens up great prospects for the future.”

The Highways Agency said design work was still being carried out for the local access roads between Leeming and Catterick and Scotch Corner and Barton, and the exact routes had not yet been decided.

A spokesman added: “The route of the motorway, and the local access roads between Catterick and Scotch Corner, will be in accordance with the original proposals presented at the public inquiry in 2006.

“More details of the proposals will be announced over the next few months.”

Draft supplementary side road orders and compulsory purchase orders are due to be issued later this year, officials said.

The work will be completed by the same contractors, Morgan Sindall and Carillion, which upgraded the A1 from Dishforth to Leeming.

Construction is due to start in 2014 and take three years.