Preferred option chosen for A66 upgrade work

Option N is the preferred option.

The preferred route option has been chosen for an upgrade of the A66 in Richmondshire.

Highways England has chosen Option N — the most northerly of the options — as the route it wants to push ahead with on the Stephen Bank to Carkin Moor stretch.

The preferred option would see the trans-Pennine road move further away from Mainsgill Farm and the Fox Hall Inn.

Highways England said they chose this route because it maintained the line of the A66 through the scheduled monument at Carkin Moor.

Experts said Option N also presented better options for utilising the detrunked section of the A66 to allow safe and easy access to local villages and facilities.

They added: “We sought advice from Historic England around the options in this area due to the importance of the scheduled monument.

“Their view was that the known impact of carefully widening the road through the monument was preferable to the impacts on potentially unknown archaeological assets of constructing a new road to the south.”

Officials said the northern bypass option N was the most popular at consultation with 179 people voting in favour of this option, which represents 51 per cent of the
respondents to this question.

Highways England has announced all its preferred options for  £1 billion A66 upgrade, which would see the entire length of the A66 become dual-carriageway.

All the preferred options for A66 improvements.

As well as benefiting local people, experts say the upgrade will support tourism and freight traffic, improving connections between ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland and those in England at Hull and Felixstowe.

Commenting on the preferred options announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps Said: “As we gradually reopen our society, we want to ensure communities across the North are able to benefit from smoother, safe, better connected journeys.

“Upgrading this vital national link will not only level up infrastructure in the region but will deliver benefits up and down the country – supporting tourism and movement between our key ports.”

Highways England says all the proposals are the most popular options among people responding in last year’s public consultation.

They include five new bypasses, key junction improvements and an underpass at the congested Kemplay Bank roundabout near Penrith.