THE first turf of the A1 upgrade has been cut with a Wetherby lady's garden spade allowing her to carry on a family tradition spanning five decades.
Gillian Hudson was guest of honour at the official A1 upgrade ceremony at Grange Park this week where she cut the first turf just as her late husband, the former Mayor of Wetherby, Coun David Hudson, had done during the 1986 upgrade.
The spade was also used by Mrs Hudson’s father-in-law, County Alderman, Major Joseph Hudson, when he cut the first turf for the 1957 Wetherby bypass.
Mrs Hudson said she felt very honoured to have been invited to cut the turf this time and was pleased she could put the nostalgic spade to good use.
Her daughter, Pippa, was also at the ceremony and Mrs Hudson said she hoped she would now take on the duty and carry on the tradition in the future.
Highways Agency project manager Karen Sanderson said it was an honour to have Mrs Hudson along to mark the 2007 scheme.
“Not only did Mrs Hudson’s late husband and father-in-law mark the start of the previous two upgrades in Wetherby, they also made significant contributions to their community over many years and we feel this is a fitting tribute,” she said.
“The project is now underway and once completed in 2009 it will benefit the area for years to come.
“Congestion encourages drivers to avoid the A1 bringing pollution and noise into local towns and villages and making residential roads more dangerous.
“Without the proposed improvements, the growth in traffic would make driving conditions worse on the A1 and in local communities,” she added.
The 61 million scheme will upgrade the road to three lane motorway standard and will include new bridges and access roads.
Work along the 10km stretch has been underway since May, and has so far included environmental work, archaeology and fencing.