Construction work to protect the A66 from flooding, where it runs alongside Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria, has started this week.
Highways England is raising the carriageway by almost a metre and a half in places in response to flooding incidents in recent years which have led to partial or full closures of the road during severe weather – including last December’s storms.
In all, 5 sections of the route, which is a mix of dual carriageway and single carriageway sections, will be improved over the next 6 months.
Highways England Programme Manager John Lyssejko said:
The A66 is one of the key arteries of the county, linking communities to the M6 and the rest of the strategic road network.
Notwithstanding December’s storms, it generally copes well with prolonged rainfall. However, given the increasing frequency and severity of bad weather, it is vitally important to increase its resilience to flooding from Bassenthwaite Lake.
A review of incidents involving the swollen lake flooding onto carriageways was initiated even before last December’s record-breaking storms which led to the collapse of the westbound dual carriageway and the opening of an emergency lane on the eastbound carriageway to keep the route open.
The first phase of the work is a £1.5 million project to protect the A66 from flooding where it runs alongside Bassenthwaite Lake in Cumbria which started on Monday 19 September, and is due to be completed by the end of December. Work will focus on raising the carriageway by about 70 centimetres around the Dubwath Junction.
Subsequent work involves:
- between October and December raising the road by about 1.1 metres near Smithy Green Cottage
- between October and January of next year driving some 2,300 soil nails into the central reservation to improve the stability of the embankment at the western end of the dual carriageway
- between January and March of next year raising 2 sections of the road by around 1.3 metres where it runs adjacent to the lakeside osprey watching sites
Money for the work has been allocated in funds set aside by the Government following the national Pitt Report into flooding issues and resilience.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.