M6 could have new junction near Gretna
Last updated at 16:57, Friday, 20 September 2013
A new motorway junction could be built amid increasing traffic concerns.
Highways Agency officials are weighing up whether a new northbound on-off point on the M6 would be feasible.
They have agreed to conduct a traffic survey to see if there is evidence to support calls for a new northbound junction close to the England-Scotland border near Gretna.
A new junction would be likely to be closer to Mossband, on the Cumbrian side of the motorway.
There have been calls for change since northbound access from the junction south of Gretna was closed several years ago, meaning traffic from the north of Carlisle and Longtown has to go through Gretna and Gretna Green to reach the M74.
Talks have already been held with the Highways Agency and Cumbria County Council, chaired by Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell. The meetings have also involved Kirkandrews-on-Esk parish council, as well Gretna and Gretna Green and Springfield community councils from north of the border and haulage firms.
Mr Mundell said: “There have been concerns about the amount of traffic going through Gretna and Gretna Green, particularly lorries, since the northbound access to the motorway was closed.
“This has increased with new developments to the north of Carlisle.”
Highways Agency officials have been urged to look at the junction possibility as part of their route strategy for the M6, but say any scheme would be subject to a “value management process” to determine its viability.
A spokesman said: “We have agreed to conduct an updated traffic survey which would include A7 and Longtown traffic and have agreed to meet stakeholders to discuss the results and the potential for a new junction.”
It is understood that the survey now underway will examine whether a new exit slip for Gretna and a new on-road for northbound traffic could be created.
If that were to happen, the current exit for Gretna would be closed for traffic heading north, but its Carlisle-bound sliproad would be retained.
The flyover at Gretna allows northbound traffic to exit the motorway. It does not allow traffic from Gretna and Longtown to enter the motorway, although a disused slip road remains in place.
Mr Mundell added: “Having previously met with the Highways Agency and Transport Scotland, it is clear the existing access cannot be reopened because of regulations on the distance between motorway junctions.
“The situation is further complicated by the fact that although Gretna and Gretna Green are the communities affected, the existing junction and any new one would be in England.”
Land opposite Mossband is already under the Highway Agency’s ownership. Officials have been urged to look at that site as a possible junction location.
William Bundred, chairman of Kirkandrews-on-Esk parish council, hopes any work will ease issues with heavy traffic coming through their area. Change would, however, still mean vehicles coming off the motorway and heading towards Longtown having to use the road to Blackbank.
First published at 16:55, Friday, 20 September 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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