More than 2,000 people attended public consultation events with others giving their views online and by post on proposed changes to the A66.
Comments were received on a variety of options which include constructing bypasses around key villages, building new lanes alongside existing sections of the road, and improving busy junctions at Kemplay Bank roundabout in Penrith and with the A67 at Barnard Castle.
The consultation was launched on Thursday 16 May by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and closed last night.
Public consultation events with plans of the potential options on show were held in Penrith, Appleby, Gilling West, Richmond and Barnard Castle.
Highways England senior project manager Matt Townsend said: “The general mood across the 20 consultation events was enthusiasm for the project which is encouraging – but it was also reassuring that people felt they could raise any concerns or suggestions and provide us with genuine local intelligence and insight.
“We’d particularly like to thank the communities which hosted the consultation events for their hospitality and warm welcome – we’ve had nothing but enthusiasm and support.
“The plan now is to take a detailed look at all the feedback and identify any themes or consistent concerns and feed that into the process as we work to bring forward our preferred options for each section of the road.”
Highways England is developing plans to fully dual the remaining six single carriageway sections, which total 18 miles of the complete 50 mile route.
This will provide improved benefits to journey time reliability, safety, network resilience and connectivity for nearby villages and towns.
The consultation set out the ideas for each of the remaining section of single carriageway of the route. They include:
- Dualling the existing four-mile section between Stephen Bank, near Ravenworth, and Carkin Moor, near Gilling West, but with three different options, including short bypasses – for the eastern end
- Allowing through traffic from the M6 or the north east to bypass congested Kemplay Bank Roundabout
- Dualling the existing three mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby including a new junction arrangement for Center Parcs 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
- Providing an upgrade of the five mile 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 1.9 mile 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 1.8 mile section
The below image shows the options for the four-mile stretch in Richmondshire.
The A66 is both a nationally important road, linking Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire, and a key regional route. It is a hugely important route for freight traffic across the United Kingdom and as the main link to the Lake District and North Pennines to the East of England.
Upgrading the A66 route will provide enormous benefits to people living locally but will also change the way people travel round the UK, improving connections from Scotland to the east coast of England and Belfast’s port traffic, via Stranrear, onwards to ports including Hull and Felixstowe.
An announcement on the preferred route will be made next spring – accompanied by a report on this year’s consultation and further statutory consultation and planning stages.
More information is available on our website.