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Delivering improved East-West connectivity

Monday 3rd June 2019

With the consultation on improvements to the A66 between M6 Junction 40 and the A1 (M) at Scotch Corner underway , Peter Molyneux explains why the work on the northern Trans-Pennine project is so important.

We’re keenly aware of the need to improve East-West connectivity across the North. Between Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow, for almost 250 miles, the only major East-West road connection is the M62.

I often use the analogy of a ladder when considering East-West links – with the M6 and M1/A1(M) the two lengths of the ladder, and the connecting roads between them the ladder’s rungs. At the moment we only have the one dual carriageway or better rung, the M62, which is overworked and very congested. In order to improve journey times for people and businesses, and better connect our economic assets in the North, we need to improve East-West connections – both on the road and with rail.

The A66 is an important part of this improvement and the upgrade will provide a key link between Penrith in Cumbria and Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire. The route is hugely important to freight traffic across the UK and serves as the main link between the Lake District in the West and the North Pennines in the East.

In addition, upgrading the A66 will improve connections from Scotland to the east coast of England and link Belfast’s port traffic, via Stranraer to the port of Hull.

The consultation is the first opportunity for members of the public to get involved in Highways England plans to dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A66, which total 18 miles of the 50 miles route.

A number of improvements to the A66 are included in our Investment Programme and I welcomed the opportunity to attend the launch of the consultation. We’ll continue to push for funding to deliver improvements to East-West connectivity to ensure the people and businesses of the North get the transport network they need and deserve.

The eight-week non-statutory consultation runs from today until Thursday 11 July. To get involved in the consultation, click here.