LONG-awaited plans to upgrade a section of the Great North Road to three-lane motorway standard will go on show to the public next week.

The work on the 12-mile stretch of the A1 between Leeming and Barton has been designed to improve journey times and increase safety.

The Government gave the go-ahead to the £314m scheme late last year – after previously cancelling it in 2010 to save cash.

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The work is expected to start in the next financial year and a public information exhibition will be held at the Bridge House Hotel in Catterick on February 15 from 2pm tom 8pm and February 16 from 10am to 4pm.

Visitors will be able to view the plans for the new motorway and for local access road provision between Leeming and Barton.

Once completed the scheme will result in a continuous motorway-standard route from London to Newcastle -including the M1 and A1M.

Journey times between Leeming and Barton will also be reduced by about 20 per cent and, over a sixty-year period, the improvements are predicted to save around 100 lives and prevent around 650 serious casualties.

Highways Agency project manager Dave Chalk said: “We are in the process of developing the detailed design for this section of the A1, and these exhibitions will be a chance for local residents, businesses and other interested parties to find out more about our plans.

“Many of our proposals are similar to those shown at the original public inquiry in 2006, but design and development work is continuing on some elements of the scheme, particularly on the local access road layout.

“We know that there is a lot of local interest in the scheme, and we are keen to meet people and talk through any questions they may have.”

To find out more about the scheme visit  http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/A1-Leeming-to-Barton-Improvement