A MAJOR new road scheme has been praised by the country’s new Roads Minister as a ‘vital link’ in growing Cumbria’s economy.

National Highways welcomed the new Roads Minister Guy Opperman to Cumbria on Friday, December 1 for a tour of the near-completed scheme that will 'improve safety, journeys and biodiversity'.

The A595 Moresby project, which will be finished early in the new year, will renew and upgrade drainage to reduce the risk of standing water and flooding on the road after intense rainfall.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman MP met Duncan Smith, National Highways’ executive director of operations, on site to see first-hand the progress that’s been made since work began a year ago and hear about the final stage, involving tree planting and landscaping.

Millions of people rely on the A595 to travel for business, leisure and visiting friends and family, and National Highways said it has 'worked hard to minimise the impact' of the improvement works on local journeys over the past year.

Mr Opperman said: “Through our £21million funding, we are helping to boost road safety and improve journeys on the A595.

“Millions across the region rely on this vital link and by working to tackle flooding, we are helping to grow the local economy across Cumbria.”

Mr Smith added: “The A595 has been prone to flooding in the past so this is an absolutely vital upgrade that will improve safety and reliability.

“It was a pleasure to welcome Guy Opperman MP to site so he could see the essential improvements carried out by our dedicated team on the ground and the benefits this scheme will bring to road users in Cumbria.”

The new drainage system method installed by National Highways features a large attenuation pond that filters rainwater before it enters the Lowca Beck.

The layout of Howgate roundabout has also been enhanced to increase capacity on the exits, with the installation of a new 200-metre merge lane on the southbound exit, while the road has been resurfaced from the roundabout to Pelican Garage.

National Highways will plant new trees and vegetation in early 2024, boosting local biodiversity and drawing the curtain on the scheme.

National Highways have also donated £100,000 in funding to Cumberland Council in support of vital improvements to the road network within Moresby and the surrounding area.