The county council has launched the search for a contractor to design and build the Carlisle Southern Link Road, a key piece of infrastructure intended to help unlock the proposed 10,000-home St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
The council is also seeking approval to acquire land to progress the road project through a compulsory purchase order, according to a report to the council’s cabinet ahead of a meeting on 27 August.
Cumbria County Council intends to award the construction contract for the road in January 2021, after which work would provisionally start on site in 2022. The scheme is earmarked for completion in 2024.
The procurement process “signifies an important step forward in the project”, the council said in a statement.
The Southern Link Road would provide a link between Junction 42 on the M6 and the A595 connecting to the Carlisle Northern Development Route, thereby completing an outer ring road for Carlisle.
The proposals include four new roundabouts, four road bridges and an extensive combined cycleway and footway on the northern side of the road, with four shared-use overbridges for cyclists and pedestrians.
The scheme is intended to help the council progress plans for the 10,325-home St Cuthbert’s, which sits to the south of Carlisle city centre and is one of 14 Garden Villages proposed across the country.
A report to the council’s cabinet in July said: “St Cuthbert’s Garden Village is the single most important project for Cumbria, due to its ability to support growth in the local population and thereby contribute to reversing the declining working age population.
“The Garden Village provides a long-term growth site for Carlisle for delivery of 10,325 new homes over the next 30 years. To facilitate this level of growth, a major infrastructure upgrade is essential.”
The £144m mixed-use community is being funded through £102m from government agency Homes England, as well as contributions of £5m each Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council, and the remainder from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Cumbria County Council is due to determine the planning application for Southern Link Road in October and is expected to approve a CPO to acquire the land needed to progress the project later this week.
The tender started on Friday with the issue of a pre-qualification questionnaire, which is used to identify a shortlist of contractors.