Green light for £1 billion transformation of key trans-Pennine freight route

Green light for £1 billion transformation of key trans-Pennine freight route

Options for the £1 billion transformation of a key northern freight route, the A66, have been unveiled by the Government.

The A66 is both a nationally important road, linking Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire and a key regional route. It is also an important route for freight traffic across the UK and as the main link to the Lake District and North Pennines to the East of England.

Highways England is developing plans 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.

Ideas 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

Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at FTA, commented: “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.  

“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.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Dualling the A66 will not only mean drivers’ journeys are quicker, safer and more reliable across the Pennines, but is part of our pledge to ensure that the business opportunities of the Northern Powerhouse spread out from the great cities of the North of England to every city, town and rural community from the Midlands to the Scottish Lowlands.”

More information regarding the consultation, which closes on 11 July, is available here