Options for the upgrade of the A66 were unveiled by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today.
Highways England is working on plans to fully dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66, which total 18 miles of the 50-mile route.
Mr Grayling inspected the notorious Ravensworth junction and attended a consultation event at Gilling West to formally launch Highways England’s eight-week public consultation into options for completing the dualling of this key trans-Pennine route.
He said: “We are investing a record £13 billion to improve journeys across the North of England.
“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.”
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.
“We’re pleased to be going out to the local community to consult on the options for the scheme. I would like to thank all our local partners who have supported us to get the project to this stage and I would encourage everyone with an interest in the scheme to get involved with this consultation.”
Today’s consultation launch sets out the ideas for each of the remaining section of single carriageway. 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.
A new dual carriageway at Stephen Bank is planned, followed by three different options that consider the impact on Foxhall, Mainsgill Farm and the Carkin Moor scheduled monument.
Officials say all the options will incorporate the dualling of the current A66 between Stephen Bank and West Layton broadly following the line of the existing road.
The stretch has been the scene of a number of serious accidents in recent years, including a fatal crash which claimed the life of a women on March 22.
A survey is currently taking place to look at what safety measures can be introduced. Road chiefs this will still be carried out despite the announcement of the consultation.
Matt Townsend, Highways England senior project manager, said: “In August 2018 we carried out road patching work along this stretch of the A66 and refreshed sections of the road lining.
“A further refresh of lining in this area took place in April. We are also looking into options to increase visibility at the Ravensworth junction by removing the hedgerows.
“A temporary 50mph speed limit was introduced in October 2018 and we have just completed a survey looking at the rate of compliance within the area. The results of this survey will help determine what further measures can be undertaken and we will be working with the local authority and the police to pursue enforcement options.”
The eight-week non-statutory consultation runs from today until Thursday 11 July.
As well as today’s event at Gilling West Town Hall further consultation events are taking place over the next few weeks:
- Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 May (11am to 7pm on both days) Gilling West Village Hall, High Street, Gilling West, Richmond
- Friday 21 June (11am to 7pm) and Saturday 22 June to (Noon to 4pm) The Station, Station Yard, Richmond
More information about the project, including a sign-up link for regular email updates, is available on our A66 Northern Trans-Pennine scheme page at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A66TransPennine.