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Highways England has today announced a preferred route for expansive upgrades to the A66, the road linking communities across the North of England from coast to coast.
It follows a consultation last year into options for the various upgrades, to make the remaining single lane sections of the road into dual carriageways.
Further information on the preferred route and update from Highways England can be found here.
Transport for the North has long been supporting the upgrades to this essential route for both passenger and freight to cross the Pennines. Currently, the only full dual carriageway connecting East and West in the North is the M62, whilst the vital A66 route can be unreliable, crowded and not fit for the high levels of freight traffic that use it.
The project is a key part of Transport for the North’s 30-year blueprint to connect the North like never before, underpinning prosperity and securing sustained investment in a pipeline of infrastructure improvements.
The upgrades announced today will bring far-reaching benefits to those that currently use the route, as well as providing wider crucial connections between Scotland and the North’s towns and cities.
Reacting to the news, our Major Roads Director Peter Molyneux said:
“For almost 250 miles between Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow, the only major East-West road connection is the M62. The only full dual carriageway, which is as a result overworked and congested.
“Upgrades to the A66 are absolutely essential to improve connections and experience, as the people that regularly use it will attest. Creating another full northern dual carriageway will speed up journeys, make the road more reliable for passengers and help freight get across the Pennines, connecting ports on both coasts. It’s not only a hugely important route between the Lake District and North Yorkshire – and the dozens of communities in between – it also helps connect Scotland to our towns and cities.
“The green light for this project is another piece of the jigsaw in our 30-year mission to give the North the quality connections it needs. The key now will be looking at ways to get on site as quickly as possible to deliver the benefits.”