Department of Transport reveals preferred route for major £1bn trans-Pennine road upgrade

Plans to upgrade the A66 trans-Pennine route have moved a step closure after the Department of Transport announced details of the preferred route. It follows a consultation last year into options to make the remaining single lane sections of the road into dual carriageways. The A66 is an important route between North Yorkshire and Cumbria and its proposed upgrade is a important part of improving transport links in the North.

In the coming months the project will move into the preliminary design phase which will involve more detailed surveys and refinement of the scheme design in preparation for the statutory public consultation in 2021.  The announcement of a preferred route - which includes five new bypasses and an underpass - was welcomed by Peter Molyneux, major roads director at Transport for the North, a body made up of local councils and business leaders.

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Mr 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, making 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."

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The Department of Transport also announced funding of GBP27m for various transport projects across Yorkshire and the Humber. Sheffield Supertram will get GBP2.6m to help increase the number of services as quickly as possible in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Almost GBP100,000 will go towards creating more bike spaces at railways stations at Huddersfield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden. Various local authorities will receive funding for projects to enable more people to walk and cycle while keeping two metres apart.

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And we also send out daily newsletters which bring the best news and features direct to your inbox. You can sign up very simply by popping your email address in the box at the top of this article, just under the picture. Many Local Authorities have already started to install measures that will enable more people to walk and cycle whilst keeping two metres apart.

In York, one lane of Tower Street and Castle Mills Bridge in the city centre has been coned off to help cyclists and pedestrians stay socially distant during the lockdown.

Funding breakdown

Emergency Active Travel Grant East Riding - GBP615,000 Hull - GBP1.3m

North East Lincs - GBP419,000 North Lincs - GBP203,000 North Yorkshire - GBP1.3m

Sheffield City Region - GBP7.1m

West Yorkshire Combined Authority - GBP12.5m

York - GBP867,000

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