The Government has unveiled the options for the £1 billion transformation of a key northern freight route, the A66. Linking Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire, the A66 is both a nationally important road and a key regional route.
As a main route for freight traffic across the UK, pans are being developed to fully dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66, which total 18 miles of the 50 mile route. A consultation has now been launched which sets out the ideas for each of the remaining section of single carriageway.
• Allowing through traffic from the M6 or the north east to bypass congested Kemplay Bank Roundabout
• Dualling the existing three mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby including a new junction arrangement for Center Parcs at the western end and an optional short bypass to avoid High Barn at the eastern end
• A new bypass north or south of Kirkby Thore and north of Crackenthorpe – following the route of the old railway line or the old Roman road
• Providing an upgrade of the five mile single carriageway between Appleby and Brough – freeing up the existing A66 for local access-only traffic as well as walkers, cyclists and horse riders
• Re-designing and improving the junction with the A67 at Bowes to allow full westbound and eastbound access and exit to and from a newly-dualled 1.9 mile section of the single carriageway
• Dualling the existing road between Cross Lane and Rookley with options for a short bypass of St Mary’s Church and Old Rectory at the eastern end of the 1.8 mile section
• Similarly, dualling the existing four mile section between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor but with three different options, including short bypasses – for the eastern end
“As the organisation representing the interests of the logistics sector, FTA has been campaigning for the dualling of the trans-Pennine section of the A66 for many years; we are thrilled Highways England has now been given the ‘green light’ to proceed and is launching an open consultation to determine the best option for the new route. This section of the A66, between Scotch Corner and Penrith, is a vital route for the UK logistics industry, connecting the Lake District and North Pennines to the East of England. But its current composition – a mix of dual and single carriage ways – has caused countless vehicle incidents and frequent congestion: it simply is not a safe and efficient route,” commented Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at FTA.
“The logistics industry is a lifeblood of the UK economy and needs an efficient and effective road network to continue stocking Britain’s factories, retail outlets, schools, hospitals and homes with the raw materials and goods they need to continue operating efficiently. The dualling of the trans-Pennine section of the A66 will provide an essential boost to the road network in the North of England and further afield; we look forward to working with Highways England to determine the final shape of the new A66.”