The proposed A66 upgrade from a single to dual carriageway across the Northern Trans-Pennine Development has been delayed by transport secretary Mark Harper.
Involving five bypasses and an underpass dug at the Kemplay Bank roundabout near Penrith, the Northern Trans-Pennine project would dual 50 miles from Penrith to Scotch Corner.
More than 30 amendments have been made to the original planning application since July 2021.
Transport secretary, Mark Harper, was due to conclude ruling on the proposal on Tuesday 7 November 2023 but failed to release a statement.
Transport minister Huw Merriman provided an update stating that the deadline for the £1.3bn development project has been extended to 7 March 2024.
The project was proposed as vital artery for the North as the current route – a quarter of which is freight traffic – experiences high numbers of traffic collisions due in part to insufficient space.
Responding to the decision, a spokesperson for the Transport of the North said: “We are disappointed to hear of a delay to the decision on upgrading the A66. But the important thing is upgrading this key route to improve connections and experience for the people that use it.
“Removing the bottlenecks along this key east-west corridor will make the road safer and more reliable for travellers and help freight get across the Pennines by linking ports on both coasts and providing onward connectivity to Scotland.
“It’s not only a hugely important route between the Lake District, North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley – and the dozens of communities in between – it also helps connect Scotland to our towns and cities.”
National Highways (NH), the government company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England’s motorways and major A roads, had previously said the project would make the route “fit for the rest of the century”.
NH stated that the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, scheduled to open in 2029, is one of “the most critical road upgrades in the north of England.”
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