The roads authority has issued an update as it seeks to finalise land deals and route options ahead of the next round of consultation on the Northern Trans-Pennine project.
In May, Highways England announced its preferred route, following an initial round of consultation, with Amey and Arup appointed to work up more detailed designs.
That work is ongoing, with designs to be finalised following a second public consultation exercise, followed by a Development Consent Order application in 2022 – HE hopes to make a start on construction works in 2024 or 2025.
Highways England’s intention is to expand 18 miles of the A66 on the stretch between Penrith and Scotch Corner on the A1 from single to dual carriageway, introducing new bypasses and junctions along the way.
More than 28,000 journeys are made using the east-west A66 every day, around half of them by lorry. The project will ease those journeys between Scotland’s Central Belt and England’s north eastern ports and roads, also improving access to the Lake District.
At the Kemplay Bank roundabout south of Penrith – the junction with the A6 – HE plans to introduce an underpass, allowing seamless through-traffic on the A66, with new on-slip and off-slip roads. Access from the police and fire stations at the roundabout will be changed.
Between Penrith and Temple Sowerby, the proposal is to introduce one major junction for Center Parcs, and make a number of smaller adjustments.
The more complicated interventions are further into the route: around Temple Sowerby a new road linking a bypass section with the old A66 is proposed, while new junctions are planned at Kirkby Thore and Crackenthorpe. Between Appleby and Brough, there are proposals for three new or revised junctions.
Matt Townsend, chief executive of Highways England, said: “We are committed to building on the positive relationships we have with communities that live along the route. We will be engaging and consulting as we develop our plans to unlock new educational, health, work and social horizons for people who live alongside the route or rely on it.
“By acting today to address the problems afflicting the A66, we can be more confident of seizing opportunities tomorrow.”