Highways England has been given the official go ahead for a £1bn transformation of the A66 across the Pennines.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling has approved the scheme linking Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire.
Highways England is now developing plans to fully dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66, which total 29km of the 80km route.
A public consultation on route options has been launched, with 15 potential routes put forward.
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The A66 connects businesses, communities and families across the north of England, and this highly anticipated upgrade is great news for the local, and regional economies and will improve the national road network.”
The consultation launch sets out the ideas for each of the remaining sections of single carriageway. They include:
- Allowing through traffic from the M6 or the North East to bypass congested Kemplay Bank Roundabout
- Dualling the existing section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby including a new junction arrangement for the Center Parcs resort 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
- Upgrading the 8km 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 3km 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 2.9km section
Similarly, dualling the existing 8km section between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor but with three different options, including short bypasses - for the eastern end
Grayling added: “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.”
The eight-week non-statutory consultation runs until 11 July.
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