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The A66 is a major road in Northern England, which in part follows the course of the Roman road from Scotch Corner to Penrith. It runs from east of Middlesbrough in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire to Workington in Cumbria. It is anomalously numbered since west of Penrith it trespasses into numbering zone 5; this is because it originally terminated at the A6 in Penrith but was extended further west in order to create one continuous east–west route. Most of what is now the A66 west of Penrith was originally A594 – only a small stub of this road numbering remains, from Maryport to Cockermouth.
|Length||115 mi (185 km)|
|Keswick, Penrith, Brough, Scotch Corner, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough|
From its eastern terminus between Redcar and Middlesbrough it runs past Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington mainly as two-lane dual-carriageway and single carriageway past Darlington, becoming motorway standard as the A66(M) shortly before meeting junction 57 of the A1(M). It follows the A1(M) south to Scotch Corner, from where it continues west across the Pennines, past Brough, Appleby, Kirkby Thore, Temple Sowerby and Penrith until it reaches Junction 40 of the M6 motorway at Skirsgill Interchange, where traffic going towards Western Scotland turns onto the northbound M6. The A66 continues past Blencathra to Keswick and Cockermouth and on through the northern reaches of the Lake District before arriving at the coastal town of Workington. There is a short stretch of dual carriageway along the northern part of Bassenthwaite Lake between Keswick and Cockermouth. Whilst the eastbound section follows the straight line of the disused Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway, the westbound section has numerous bends with climbs and dips. The westbound section was closed due to flood damage in December 2015 and when it re-opened in May 2016 had been permanently reduced to a single lane. This section has a 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) limit monitored by average speed cameras.
When road numbers were first designated in the 1920s, the A66 was assigned to the route between Penrith and Hull via Scotch Corner and York, mainly along former Roman roads. Today's route largely follows the original route between Penrith and Scotch Corner. The historic route between Scotch Corner and Hull follows what is now today's A1, A168, B6265, A59 and A1079.
The middle 49.5 miles (79.7 km) section of the A66 between Scotch Corner on the A1(M) and Penrith on the M6 forms one of the key trans-Pennines trunk routes and has one of the worst road-safety records in the UK. Various bypasses and upgrades have been constructed since the early 1970s, giving the current mix of single and dual-carriageway sections. In 2002, after many years of local campaigning, the Transport Minister, John Spellar, gave support for the upgrading of the remaining single-carriageway sections by the Highways Agency. The first three projects began construction in early 2006 and opened in 2007 and 2008. The whole route between the A1(M) and M6 was due to be dualled by 2011, by which time the upgrade of the A1 to motorway status at Scotch Corner was planned to be complete.
After the construction of several sections commenced, it was announced that those schemes currently in the planning phase would not go ahead until 2016 at the earliest. The Highways Agency website states "Other than those already committed, the Regions did not identify any other major schemes for the A66 as high priorities to receive funding. This means that there is currently no likelihood of any additional major schemes on this route being funded within the next ten-year period. However the Regional Funding Allocation process will be reviewed in due course and this will give an opportunity for the Regions to revise their priorities."
In September 2015, the government said that £500,000 would be invested into the study of the two Trans-Pennine routes of the A66 and the A69. The proposal would be for one or even both roads to be dualled wholly between the A1/A1(M) and the M6. The following year the government announced that the A66 would be dualled, but not the A69. Highways England plans a public consultation from May 2019, in which it will present its plans for a £500 million spend to complete dualling the Trans-Pennine section, together with improvements at the M6 and A1(M) interchanges.
|Section||Start||End||Section Length (Miles)||Dual-carriageway||Notes|
|M6-A6||M6 J40||A6||0.7||Opened 1971|
|Penrith Bypass||A6||Brougham||1.5||Opened 1971|
|Penrith-Temple Sowerby||Brougham||Winderwath||2.8||–||On hold|
|Temple Sowerby Bypass||Winderwath||Temple Sowerby East||2.6||Opened 2007|
|Temple Sowerby-Appleby||Temple Sowerby East||Crackenthorpe||4.4||–||On hold|
|Appleby Bypass||Crackenthorpe||Coupland||3.7||Opened by 1982|
|Warcop Bypass||Coupland||Brough West||4.4||–||On hold|
|Brough Bypass||Brough West||Brough East||2.0||Opened 1977|
|Brough-Stainmore||Brough East||Stainmore||1.0||Opened 1994|
|Stainmore Bypass||Stainmore||Banks Gate||2.4||Opened 1992|
|Bowes Moor||Banks Gate||Bowes West||8.7||Opened 1993|
|Bowes Bypass||Bowes West||Bowes East||1.1||–||On hold|
|Boldron Bypass||Bowes East||Cross Lanes||2.5||Opened by 1983|
|Cross Lanes-Greta Bridge||Cross Lanes||Greta Bridge West||1.6||–||On hold|
|Greta Bridge Bypass||Greta Bridge West||Greta Bridge East||1.5||Opened 1980|
|Greta Bridge-Stephen Bank||Greta Bridge East||Stephen Bank||2.3||Opened 2008|
|Stephen Bank-Carkin Moor||Stephen Bank||Carkin Moor||2.5||–||On hold|
|Carkin Moor-Scotch Corner (A1)||Carkin Moor||Scotch Corner (A1)||3.8||Opened 2007|
The section of road between Scotch Corner and Penrith accounted for 70 deaths over ten years up until 2002, which was above the national average for single lane carriageways. Whilst the number of accidents was in line with the national average, the number of serious injuries and deaths was twice the national average; this high attrition rate was the reason for the go-ahead for the new dualled sections on the grounds of safety.
Snow gates were installed on the road between Bowes and Brough. This section is the moorland route over Stainmore summit which reaches a height of 1450 feet (441 metres) is prone to heavy snow in the winter. Both sets of gates have turnaround facilities to allow all traffic to change direction.
Accidents and incidentsEdit
|Length||2.0 mi (3.2 km)|
The A66(M) is a spur from the A1(M) at Junction 57. It was opened in 1965 along with the A1(M) as part of the Darlington by-pass motorway. It can be accessed only by northbound traffic on the A1(M) and has an exit to this route southbound only.
|A66(M) motorway junctions|
|Westbound exits (B carriageway)||Junction||Eastbound exits (A carriageway)|
|The South, Scotch Corner A1(M)
|A1(M), J57||Start of motorway|
|Start of motorway||Terminus||Darlington A66|
- Map of Roman Roads in Britain
- "A66 - Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki". www.sabre-roads.org.uk. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Safety Cameras to Improve A66 Safety" (Press Release). Highways Agency. 2 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Guidance on Road Classification and the Primary Route Network" (PDF). UK HMG. p. 3. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement - One Year After Study" (PDF). Highways Agency. p. 8. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Environment warning over road plan". BBC. 23 August 2002. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "CBRD » Road Schemes » A66 Dualling Scotch Corner - Stephen Bank". www.cbrd.co.uk. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Northern Powerhouse study to look at dualling whole of A66 and A69". nechronicle. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Michael Muncaster (23 November 2016). "Why are plans to dual the A66 over the A69 going ahead? We look at what impact it will have". Evening Chronicle. Newcastle.
- Graeme Hetherington (7 March 2019). "Consultation due to start in May on A66 changes". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- "Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement - One Year After Study" (PDF). Highways Agency. p. 23. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Cumbria's A66 route has snow gates installed". BBC News. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Hundreds trapped in A66 snow chaos". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Three killed in school bus crash in Cumbria". BBC News. BBC. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "The Motorway Archive – A1(M) & A66(M) The Darlington By-Pass motorway Dates Page". Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2006.