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Flood resilience work for A66 in Cumbria

Bassenthwaite Lake viewed from Ullock Pike

Highways England is raising the carriageway on the A66 in Cumbria by almost 1.5m in some sections to protect it from flooding.

The work is being carried out in response to flooding incidents in recent years that have led to partial or full closures of the road during severe weather, including last December’s storms.

Highways England said that five sections of the route, which comprises a mix of dual carriageway and single carriageway sections, would be improved over the next six months.

“The A66 is one of the key arteries of the county, linking communities to the M6 and the rest of the strategic road network,” said Highways England programme manager John Lyssejko.

“Notwithstanding December’s storms, it generally copes well with prolonged rainfall. However, given the increasing frequency and severity of bad weather, it is vitally important to increase its resilience to flooding from Bassenthwaite Lake.”

A review of incidents involving the swollen lake flooding onto carriageways was initiated before last December’s record-breaking storms which led to the collapse of the westbound dual carriageway and the opening of an emergency lane on the eastbound carriageway to keep the route open.

Highways England said that the first phase of the work was a £1.5M project to protect the A66 from flooding where it runs alongside Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria. This work started on 19 September, and it is due to be completed by the end of December. Work will focus on raising the carriageway by approximately 700mm around the Dubwath Junction.

Highways England added that subsequent work would involve:

  • Between October and December 2016, the road near Smithy Green Cottage will be raised by about 1.1m
  • Between October 2016 and January 2017, 2,300 soil nails will be driven into the central reservation to improve the stability of the embankment at the western end of the dual carriageway
  • Between January and March 2017, two sections of the road will be raised by around 1.3m where it runs adjacent to the lakeside osprey watching sites.

The public body said that money for the work had been allocated from funds set aside by the government following the national report by Sir Michael Pitt called Learning the Lessons of the 2007 floods that looked into flooding issues and resilience.

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