A public consultation has been announced for £1bn plans to dual the A66 trans-Pennine route that remains single carriageway.
Highways England is working on plans to fully dual the remaining six single carriageway sections, which total 18 miles of the complete 50 mile route, in addition to junction improvements to the M6, junction 40 at Penrith and the A1(M) at Scotch Corner.
Experts say this will improve benefits to journey time reliability, safety, network resilience and connectivity for nearby villages and towns.
While discussions have been ongoing with county councils, local councils, businesses, haulage firms, emergency services and other stakeholders, the planned consultation is the first opportunity for the public to get involved with an eight-week non-statutory consultation between Tuesday 14 May and Tuesday 9 July.
Highways England senior project manager Matt Townsend said: “Although the start of construction is still a number of years away, this first non-statutory consultation is a significant milestone.
“We’ll be presenting different options for dualling the six remaining single lane sections of the A66 and our improvement plans for Kemplay Bank roundabout to get the public’s views on what might be the preferable options.
“We want residents, trans-Pennine commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, businesses, land owners – anyone with an opinion or local knowledge – to get involved in this non-statutory consultation and help us shape this vital investment in the economy of the north.”
Details of the route options for each of the six single carriageway sections along the route will be unveiled ahead of the non-statutory consultation.
A number of public information exhibitions will take place in the various communities served by the A66 allowing local people the opportunity to find out more and meet the team delivering this major project.
Highways England will present route options for the following sections:
• Penrith to Temple Sowerby
• Temple Sowerby to Appleby
• Appleby to Brough
• Cross Lanes to Rokeby
• Stephen Bank to Carkin Moor
Ideas for improving key junctions at both ends of the route are also included in the consultation
In June, public information exhibitions will take place at:
• The Station, Station Yard, Richmond, DL10 4LD on Friday 21 June (11am to 7pm) and Saturday 22 June to (Noon to 4pm).
• The Witham, Horse Market, Barnard Castle, DL12 8LY on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 12, 13 and 14 June (all 11am to 7pm) and on Saturday 15 June (10am to 2pm)
Officials say the A66 is a strategically important road – a quarter of its 19,000 vehicles a day are lorries – and it provides trans-Pennine connections between the east and west coasts and a primary route connecting the south of England and Scotland.
More information about the project – including a sign-up link for regular email updates – is available at: www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A66TransPennine