Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Cumbrian villages launch fight to de-trunk A69

Residents living along the A69 have launched a petition over road safety concerns with the full backing of two of the area’s MPs.

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Safety Fears: The A69 through Warwick Bridge

Around 200 people packed into a public meeting at the Downagate Centre in Warwick Bridge and they are hoping that the road can be downgraded with heavy traffic diverted along the A689.

It was organised by councillor Nick Marriner, who represents people living in Wetheral, who said the alternative route was a much better option and a more affordable solution than building a new bypass.

He said: “It’s a vital local issue – we’ve been campaigning on this road since the 1960s.”

Mr Marriner said that he had been told by a Department for Transport civil engineer in 1989 that a bypass for Warwick Bridge had been proposed as early as 1975.

He added that there had been four fatalities in the past year. He said: “Warwick Bridge itself was built around 1850 to carry horses and carriages and it now has to carry 44-tonne lorries – it’s not fit for purpose.”

According to official figures around 12,000 trucks use the route every week and campaigners are hoping that the A69 can be ‘detrunked’ with the heavy traffic diverted along the A689.

Rory Stewart, the MP for Penrith and the Border, said he fully supported the idea. He added: “It has to be possible because we’ve got the A689. People get worried about detrunking roads nationally because you cut up the national road network.

“This is a unique case because we have an alternative route and the only downside is it adds an additional four miles to the journey.”

John Stevenson, Carlisle’s MP, said that a film from 23 years ago had shown similar problems but now the situation was worse.

He added: “Things have changed quite a bit. There’s more traffic and heavier traffic.”

Petitions are being organised locally in a number of villages including Warwick Bridge, Great Corby, Warwick on Eden, Wetherall, Scotby and Aglionby.

Organisers are aiming to collect at least 2,000 signatures between now and the end of January.


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