Action needed to stop carnage on the A66

Date: Monday 16th April 2018

Sir, Further to the front page article (Herald, 7th April) about drivers “facing Russian roulette” on the A66, I was many years ago led to believe that when the Penrith bypass, which is now part of the M6, opened in November, 1968, the road builder, Alfred McAlpine, and the bridge builder, Leonard Fairclough, were lobbying the Labour government of the day to open up the A66 dual carriageway project for tenders as they would have been able to put forward a favourable bid due to the fact that they had all of their equipment in situ.

Needless to say it never happened and we now have this disastrous situation of bits of bad road joined together with dual carriageway sections.

Another rumour was that in its heyday British Gypsum wanted an eastern bypass to Kirkby Thore so as its lorries could access the A66 without having to negotiate the bad junction at the Bridge End pub, and the company was allegedly willing to contribute to the cost. Needless to say it never happened.

Now the situation on the A66 from Scotch Corner to Penrith is going to get worse. As the improvements to the A1/M are nearing completion, the preferred route from London and the south will be via the A1/M, avoiding the congestion on the M1/M6, and once at Scotch Corner all of the Lakes and west of Scotland traffic will come over the A66.

If this road was, for example “down south”, it would have been improved long ago, so it’s about time the politicians and local councillors stopped waffling and took some action to stop the carnage.

Having been a long distance lorry driver in my younger days I have been involved in two accidents on the A66, both in the same circumstances with other lorry drivers travelling in the opposite direction falling asleep at the wheel. Luckily both were just glancing blows and not full head-on collisions or I might not be here today to tell the tale. Yours etc,

DAVID ATKINSON

Maple Drive, Penrith.