Following a consultation in summer 2019, Highways England have announced the preferred route for dualling the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner.
The A66 is both a nationally important road, linking the M6 at Penrith in Cumbria with the A1(M) at Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire, and a key regional route. As well as benefiting local people, the consultation concluded that the upgrade will support tourism and freight traffic, improving connections between ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland and those in England at Hull and Felixstowe.
The proposed route includes five new bypasses and an underpass at the congested Kemplay Bank roundabout near Penrith. The proposals also include significant improvements to the existing junctions between Barnard Castle and the A66 at Bowes and Rokeby.
Highways England state that: “These [changes] will improve safety at the two junctions and make for safer, smoother journeys for HGVs. The options we have selected were the most popular among the hundreds of people who responded to last year’s public consultation.”
The consultation decided that all the villages being bypassed will benefit from the removal of high volumes of traffic, including HGVs, from the existing road as well as improved community connectivity. Pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders are also set to benefit from the upgrade by reducing collisions, competition from other vehicles and associated congestion along one of the most important commercial routes in the north of the United Kingdom.
Malcolm Bingham, Head of Compliance Information at FTA, welcomed the outcome: “After more than 30 years of campaigning, FTA and its members are thrilled the government has announced it will move forward with dualling the remaining sections of the A66. Our members rely on efficient road networks to keep goods moving across the UK, but this vital stretch of road has long been plagued with reliability and safety issues, due to constant closures and accidents. Once complete, the upgrade will unlock new opportunities for economic growth across the country, due to the road’s strategic importance. “
The proposed route can be viewed online, and a Preferred Route brochure has been made available. The Options Consultation Report has also been published to show how the Commission addressed feedback received during the process.
Further information can be found at Highways England and the Department of Transport website.