Highways England is developing plans to fully dual the remaining 18 miles of single carriageway sections of the A66, a move that is claimed will bring enormous benefits to both the public and business community alike.
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 UK and as the main link to the Lake District and North Pennines to the east of England.
The Department for Transport (DfT) say that upgrading the A66 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.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “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.”
Transport for the North’s major roads director, Peter Molyneux, said: “We welcome the launch of this consultation on options for dualling the remaining sections of the single carriageway of the A66, linking the M6 and the A1(M). This will improve east/west connectivity on this vitally important route, which will enable economic growth and improved opportunities across the north.”
The eight-week public consultation launched by Highways England, which sets out the ideas for each of the remaining section of single carriageway, will also offer opportunities to find out details about how each option will balance local access needs with the needs of trans-Pennine traffic, while also catering for slow moving vehicles such as farm traffic, walkers, cyclists and horse riders.