A PROPOSAL to re-route traffic along the A689 instead of the A69 has moved a step closer, with the Secretary of State for Transport publicly backing the plan.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson met with the transport minister Grant Shapps to put forward the case for directing more traffic along the more northerly Carlisle to Brampton route, in a bid to improve the safety of the A69.

An issue Mr Stevenson has long campaigned about, the Conservative MP has long argued that prioritising traffic flow along the A689 would help cut accidents along the A69 and at the same time help boost economic development - particularly around Carlisle Lake District Airport.

He has also long called for improvement works to the A69, which runs from Carlisle to Brampton through Warwick Bridge.

Mr Stevenson described his meeting with the transport secretary as positive.

“The secretary of state for transport is supportive of improvements to the A69 and has asked officials to look at the feasibility of upgrading the route and rerouting the current A69 along the A689,” he said.

“He has agreed to discuss his support with Highways England, and I hope that progress can be made.

“This is an issue that I have campaigned for over the course of many years and one I have raised with successive Secretaries of State.

“I do hope that positive progress can be made so that connectivity can be improved to and from Carlisle.”

Mr Stevenson has also suggested that improvements to the A689 would help support bolster transport links to Carlisle Airport, which now offers regular flights to Southend, Belfast and Dublin.

Experts have long recognised that transport connectivity is a key catalyst for economic growth and continuing investment.