A66 upgrade will have lasting effect on Eden, so have your say
WE are in the early planning stages of the largest road project to affect our part of the county. Over the next 15 years the proposal is to make the whole length of the A66 into a dual carriageway from Junction 40 of the M6 to Scotch Corner.
This project has the potential to change Eden for ever. Decisions are due to be made on a proposed route in several areas of Eden during the autumn of 2019, when the informal consultation is completed.
We are being given the choice of an overpass or underpass at Kemplay roundabout, as yet undetermined alterations to Junction 40, and a bypass to the north or south of Kirkby Thore, among other changes.
These proposals will result in one of two outcomes, in my opinion. The first is a road which properly connects communities in the towns and villages of Eden, and one which residents are able to influence its use and its benefits. The second is a bypass which shoots traffic though Eden as quickly as possible and is of no benefit to our communities.
The project faces several challenges from the start. By the time it is complete, proposed to be 2034, the road will be carrying 35 per cent more traffic by projected natural growth, and when the haulage companies realise that the road is more reliable than at present, and less congested than the M62, it may be the preferred route from the south east of England to Scotland and Ireland and return.
The road already has 25 per cent HGV traffic, compared to a national motorway average of 12 per cent.
These challenges make it vital that Highways England understands the views of the residents of Eden, and that we make sure the project is of benefit to all of us and those who live in the beautiful Eden Valley in the future.
Make sure you have you say. In my opinion it is vital that as many people as possible use the consultation process to let Highways England know their opinions. This can be done either online or by visiting one of the open days arranged locally by Highways England.
(Chairman, Cumbria County Council local committee for Eden)