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Government outlines preferred A66 upgrade work

Words: Laura Edgar
A66 / Shutterstock_483109993

The government has announced its preferred routes for the £1 billion upgrade of the A66 as it seeks to improve transport links across the north of England.

The A66 links the M6 at Penrith, Cumbria, with the A1(M) at Scotch Corner, North Yorkshire.

Highways England’s preferred option would see an underpass installed instead of a fly-over at Kemplay Bank, and a northern bypass of a three-mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby. This option also includes:

  • Dualling a five-mile section between Appleby and Brough alongside the existing section of single carriageway.
  • Converting a 1.9-mile section of the route north of Bowes – the current, single carriageway Bowes bypass - into a dual carriageway.
  • Safety improvements to the existing junctions between Barnard Castle and the A66 at Bowes and Rokeby.

The government said these proposals were the most popular amongst the 857 respondents to a public consultation held last year, with 92 per cent backing them.

Highways England’s senior project manager Matt Townsend said: “Since the consultation ended 10 months ago, we have carefully considered all the public responses. We have revisited issues such as the environmental impact of each option, how we can re-connect communities currently separated by the existing road and how to improve the route for pedestrians and cyclists.

“We feel the proposals reflect ours and the government’s vision of a Northern Trans-Pennine route fit for the rest of the century. They also reflect the aspirations of the majority of people, including a diverse range of interest groups, who engaged with us in many months of discussion or gave us their views during the consultation.”

The bypassed villages are expected to benefit from less traffic and improved community connectivity. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “As we gradually reopen our society, we want to ensure communities across the North are able to benefit from smoother, safe, better connected journeys.

“Upgrading this vital national link will not only level up infrastructure in the region but will deliver benefits up and down the country - supporting tourism and movement between our key ports.”

The preferred options will go into a period of further analysis, development and design, the government added, before a second public consultation is held next year.

Image credit | Shutterstock