Preferred route for A66 dual carriageway announced

The A66, which is to be upgraded. Credit: Highways England

The Government has announced the preferred route for a £1bn upgrade to the A66.

The road links the A1(M) at Scotch Corner with the M6 at Penrith in Cumbria.

This upgrade wasannounced last yearand this preferred route was decided on following a public consultation.

It includes five new bypasses, junction improvements and an underpass at the congested Kemplay Bank roundabout near Penrith.

Other proposals include:

  • A northern bypass of a three-mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby

  • A northern bypass for Kirkby Thore

  • The most northerly of two options bypassing Crackenthorpe

  • Dualling a five-mile section between Appleby and Brough alongside the existing section of single carriageway

  • Converting a 1.9-mile section of the route north of Bowes – the current, single carriageway Bowes bypass - into a dual carriageway

  • A bypass south of the Old Rectory between Cross Lane and Rokeby instead of a conversion which would have required demolishing buildings

  • The most northerly of three bypass options linking sections of existing dual carriageway between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor

The proposals also include changes to the existing junctions between Barnard Castle and the A66 at Bowes and Rokeby. These are designed to improve safety.

Highways England said this option was the most popular among the 857 respondents to the consultation and almost 93 percent of people backed the overall dualling plan.

All the preferred options now go into a period of further analysis.

Highways England also revealed today that the £45m design contract for the project, which was put out to tender in October, had been awarded to Amey Consulting in collaboration with Arup.

Highways England’s senior project manager Matt Townsend said:

The options we have revealed today are the ones we want to take forward into construction, but they were also the most popular among people who responded in the consultation.

Matt Townsend, Highways England

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps added:

Upgrading this vital national link will not only level up infrastructure in the region but will deliver benefits up and down the country - supporting tourism and movement between our key ports.

Grant Shapps< Transport Secretary