Carlisle Southern Link Road
The 8km road is expected to improve links between east and west Cumbria

Morgan Sindall lands Cumbria road job

Sarah Townsend

The construction group has been appointed to design the Carlisle Southern Link Road, a key piece of infrastructure intended to help unlock the planned 10,000-home St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

Under the £4.5m first part of a £75m contract, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure will undertake the detailed design of the road that will connect Junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 at Newby West in Cumbria.

Planned to stretch for 8km, the road is to include four new roundabouts, five cycle bridges and four road bridges, as well as a cycle path along the northern side along its full length. Two of the bridges will cross Network Rail assets (the West Coast Main Line and Cumbrian Coast Line) and one of the bridges will also cross the River Caldew.

The appointment follows a competitive procurement process that started last August. The opportunity is split into two stages, according to the official tender. There is no guarantee that the stage one contractor, Morgan Sindall,  will be appointed to deliver stage two, the tender document states.

The Carlisle Southern Link Road is intended to play a vital role in supporting Cumbria’s post-Covid economic recovery, as well as the delivery of St. Cuthbert’s Garden Village and the improvement of east-west connectivity to the south of Carlisle, reducing congestion and opening links with West Cumbria overall.

Cumbria County Council received planning consent for the road in last October following public consultation. The council is continuing to work with landowners and statutory stakeholders to minimise the impact of the scheme on their land.

Last summer, Place North West reported that the council is also seeking approval to acquire land to progress the road project through a compulsory purchase order. It said this week that work is to start on site in spring 2022, as the scheme’s completion is earmarked for 2024.

Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, is delivering several highways schemes throughout the UK under local authority frameworks and for Highways England, and is also conducting infrastructure works in Cumbria for nuclear energy giant Sellafield. The contractor’s expertise will be used to “further develop the design of the link road over the next 10 months”, the council said.

Morgan Sindall Infrastructure’s managing director Simon Smith added: “We are delighted to be awarded this scheme to support the strategic improvement of the local area’s infrastructure.

“We look forward to developing and strengthening our relationship with Cumbria County Council and our local partners, while also helping to ensure that all the benefits of the project are realised as part of our commitment to delivering innovative and responsible infrastructure.”

“The benefits the road will bring in connecting East and West Cumbria and unlocking housing for the new garden village as well as stimulating employment, economic growth and investment at a time when our county really needs it cannot be underestimated,” said Cllr Keith Little, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport.

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