Transport for the North has backed plans to dual the remaining sections of the A66 across the North Pennines.
Peter Molyneux, major roads director at Transport for the North, the country’s only statutory sub-national transport body, said the plans ‘will improve east/west connectivity on this vitally important route, which will enable economic growth and improved opportunities across the North’.
Under the proposals, Highways England would fully dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66, which currently total 18 miles of the 50 mile route.
It described the A66, which links Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire, as both a nationally important road and a key regional route that is a hugely important route for freight traffic across the UK.
It added that upgrading route will provide enormous benefits to people living locally and change the way people travel round the UK, ‘improving connections from Scotland to the east coast of England and Belfast’s port traffic, via Stranrear, onwards to ports including Hull and Felixstowe’.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: ‘The A66 connects businesses, communities and families across the north of England, and this highly anticipated upgrade is great news for the local, and regional economies and will improve the national road network.’
The Government-owned company said the non-statutory consultation ‘sets out the ideas’ for each of the remaining section of single carriageway. They include:
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