The first phase of the £380m A1 Leeming to Barton upgrade will open to traffic at the end of the week but full completion of the project has again been delayed.
Highways England said that from Friday (22 September) the southern section between junction 51 at Leeming and junction 52 at Catterick will become a three-lane motorway and current speed restrictions will be lifted.
Update: Highways England confirmed on Friday morning that the new section of road had opened.
However, it said the planned completion date for the scheme has now been put back and the scheme will now be fully open by winter 2017/18. It was originally planned to be finished in June, which was then put back to the end of the year.
Highways England project manager Tom Howard said: ‘We are pleased to be able to open this section ahead of the main completion to give drivers the benefits of motorway standards as well as smoother and safer journeys.
‘This is an important milestone and means we are now halfway to completing this major scheme on this vitally important route.
‘Over the autumn period our focus will be on the remainder of the project including completing the local access road between Scotch Corner and Brompton-on-Swale and opening the new Fort Bridge which will provide and new east – west link to Catterick for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.'
Highways England said that once Fort Bridge is fully open by the middle of November, the next major milestones will be the opening of the motorway between Scotch Corner interchange and junction 56 at Barton, and between Catterick junction and Scotch Corner interchange.
It said complicated ground conditions have impacted on the method used to stabilise the embankment near the River Swale, which has resulted in an extension to the planned completion date. It is ‘working with contractors to resolve the issue as quickly as possible’.
Once finished, the full scheme will complete the 'missing link' of motorway between London and Newcastle, using the M1 and A1 (M).