Highways England announces preferred route for £1bn A66 motorway upgrade


Highways England has announced the official preferred route for the £1bn Trans-Pennine A66 upgrade, which will connect M6 at Penrith in Cumbria with the A1(M) at Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire.

The proposals announced include five new bypasses, key junction improvements and an underpass at the congested Kemplay Bank roundabout near Penrith and they were among the most popular options that people responded to last year’s public consultation.

UK 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.”

Highways England is proposing several options which include an underpass instead of a fly-over at Kemplay Bank, along with bypassing existing sections of the route or offer dualling alongside the existing single carriageway road.

The upgrade proposals include a northern bypass of a three-mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby, a northern bypass option for Kirkby Thore.

It also includes moving forward from single option to dual for a five-mile section between Appleby and Brough alongside the existing section of the single carriageway and converting a 1.9-mile single carriageway section of the route north of Bowes bypass into a dual carriageway.

Instead of a dual carriageway conversion, a bypass south of the Old Rectory between Cross Lane and Rokeby has been planned to avoid demolishing buildings. The proposal also includes three bypass options linking sections of existing dual carriageway between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor.

Significant improvements to the existing junctions between Barnard Castle and the A66 at Bowes and Rokeby are also included in the proposals, improving safety at the junctions for safer and smoother journeys.

Highways England senior project manager Matt Townsend said: “We are delighted more than 92 per cent of people backed the idea of completing the dualling of the A66. Since the consultation ended ten 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.

“The options we have revealed today are the ones we want to take forward into construction, but they were also the most popular among people who responded in the consultation.”


The A66 motorway at Kirkby Thore. (Credit: Crown copyright.)

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