Plans unveiled for £1bn upgrade of trans-Pennine route in UK

WCN Editorial Team 17 May 2019 EUROPE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled plans for a £1bn transformation of trans-Pennine, a key northern route, to improve connections between the east and west of England.

The A66 link, which links Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire, is a key route for freight traffic across the UK and main link to the Lake District and North Pennines to the East of England.

Highways England plans to convert the remaining single carriageway section of the A66, covering 18 miles of the 50-mile route, to dual carriageway.

Upgrading the A66 route is expected to improve connections from Scotland to the east coast of England and Belfast’s port traffic, via Stranrear, to ports such as Hull and Felixstowe.

A public consultation on the upgrade has also been launched, setting out the ideas for the remaining section of single carriageway.

The plans include allowing traffic from the M6 or the north east to bypass Kemplay Bank Roundabout; and dualling the three-mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby, including a new junction for Center Parcs at the western end and an optional short bypass to avoid High Barn at the eastern end.

A new bypass has been planned near Kirkby Thore and north of Crackenthorpe, along the route of the old railway line or the old Roman road.

As part of the plans, the five-mile single carriageway between Appleby and Brough will be upgraded, freeing up the A66 for local access-only traffic as well as walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Plans include re-designing and improving the junction with the A67 at Bowes to allow westbound and eastbound access and exit to and from a newly dualled 1.9-mile section of the single carriageway.

Furthermore, the road between Cross Lane and Rookley will be converted to dual lane, with options for a short bypass of St Mary’s Church and Old Rectory at the eastern end of the 1.8-mile section.

The plans also involve dualling the four-mile section between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor but with three different options, including short bypasses for the eastern end.

Grayling said: “We are investing a record £13 billion to improve journeys across the North of England.

“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.”

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Image: A66 northern trans-Pennine route. Photo: Courtesy of GOV.UK.

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