£1.3bn Trans-Pennine project – Balfour, Costain, Keltbray & Kier


A £1.3 billion construction programme to upgrade a road in the north of England stretching more than 50 miles across mountainous terrain could be changed under revised plans.  

A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project
A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project. Credit: National Highways.

The Planning Inspectorate has waved through 22 design change proposals to the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project put forward by National Highways. 

A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project
A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project. Credit: National Highways.

Balfour Beatty, Costain, Keltbray and Kier were appointed to the project, dubbed “one of the most critical road upgrades in the north”, in October last year. 

Several sections have been upgraded or bypassed since the 1970s. 

It involves dualling single carriageway sections and key junction improvements between M6 Junction 40 (Penrith) and the A1 at Scotch Corner. 

Of the 24 alterations put to the government agency, 22 have been accepted by the Examining Authority. Some key changes are below: 

  • Works to Center Parcs junction 
  • Changes within Ministry of Defence land 
  • Revised plan for Cafe Sixty-Six land 
  • Realignment: Main Street, Sleastonhow Lane, Crackenthorpe Underpass, Warrener Lane 
  • Removal of Sewage Works junction; new access from B6262 
  • Removal of Langrigg westbound junction; Langrigg Lane link revision 
  • Reorientation of Kemplay Bank junction 
  • Construction of noise barrier south of Brough 
  • Earlier tie-in of Cross Street 
  • Change in westbound speed limit  

“In 2020, this project was designated a ‘Project Speed pathfinder’, which meant the construction time for the project would be halved and the opening of the road brought forward by five years, to 2029,” said National Highways.  

“This is also one of over 100 rail and road schemes being targeted for acceleration by the Government as part of the recent Growth Plan, reducing unnecessary burdens on planning processes and speeding up infrastructure to give the economy the freedom to boost growth.” 

Following a decision by the secretary of state in November, works will start in 2024.      

To read the full schedule of changes, click here. 

National Highways video from 2021. 

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