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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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New calls to upgrade one of Cumbria's busiest roads

Fresh calls are being made to have one of Cumbria’s busiest roads upgraded.

A66 sign photo
A66

A Government minister has been asked to look at making the A66 a dual-carriageway.

The route is one of the county’s main east-west links, taking travellers from the north east and Yorkshire through Eden and into west Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council says it would like to see the route upgraded – if money were to come from central government.

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart raised the issue in Parliament this week.

He asked Transport Secretary Stephen Hammond whether he would turn the section of the road between Penrith and Scotch Corner into dual carriageway.

But the minister replied: “The department has no current plans to develop proposals for dual carriageway roads on the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith. In preparing for future investment decisions, the department will consider the current and future forecast performance of the strategic road network to identify and prioritise the scale of identified problems.”

Mr Stewart has, however, pledged to continue making the case for the upgrade to dual carriageway along the route.

The county council would, however, like to see consideration being given to upgrades on the full length of road.

Tony Markley, the councillor responsible for highways, said: “The county council would welcome any extra investment from central Government and the Highways Agency into Cumbria’s trunk roads.

“There is a strong case for investing in one of the main arterial routes joining the east and west in northern England and not only introducing dual carriageway throughout, but also alleviating traffic through well-known pinch points, such as Kirkby Thore.

“We would also press for the case for improving the A66 west of Penrith too so that economic growth in west Cumbria can be encouraged.

“As long as the improvements are centrally funded, done in consultation with local people and are sensitive to environmental and ecological factors, then they can only be a good thing.”

Calls have been made over many years for both the entire A66 and A69 to be upgraded.

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