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Cumbria LEP welcomes Highways England consultation for expansion of A595

Cumbria LEP has welcomed the Government announcement that it is making a ‘cast-iron’ commitment to improve the county’s roads.

On his visit to Whitehaven today, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is announcing the launch of a Highways England public consultation to cut congestion and improve safety for drivers on the A595.

As part of the Department for Transport’s commitment to investment in the North with spending over £13bn through to 2020, Cumbria’s crucial road links are set to benefit from major investment, delivering safer, faster, and more reliable journeys.

Focused on upgrading a pinch-point which causes traffic between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness, the consultation will look at ways of cutting congestion, improving safety and reducing rat-running on other local roads, with construction set to begin in 2025.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Investing in Cumbria’s vital transport routes cuts congestion, ensures drivers enjoy faster, safer journeys, and increases the freight capacity needed to drive forward jobs and economic growth.

“This shows our cast-iron commitment to Cumbria, as we deliver the investment needed to provide businesses and commuters with more reliable and resilient journeys.”

The Secretary of State also confirmed ongoing discussions with local partners on proposals to progress development of a major programme of upgrades on the Cumbrian Coast railway to support expected major investments in West Cumbria and the creation of new jobs.

Commenting on the announcement, Cumbria LEP Board Member Jim Jackson said: “This is an important road improvement in its own terms, and secondly it is another key step towards creating a coherent transport network for Cumbria as a whole, which is what the county requires.

“It is great news to see further progress on the Transport Infrastructure plans which the LEP and Cumbria County Council have developed and championed together with partners.

“The Government has also acknowledged the importance of the Cumbria Coastal Rail development plans and that is also a positive that the project is clearly on its radar.”

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, added: “Cumbria County Council has worked hard to lobby Government over a number of years to raise awareness of the various challenges facing Cumbria’s roads.

“We welcome today’s announcement and the Department for Transport’s commitment to investing in Cumbria’s transport network. The A595 is a vital artery connecting communities and the proposed investment would be key to achieving improved road safety, enhanced connectivity and stimulate economic growth. I look forward to the outcome of the consultation and encourage local people to respond.

“I am also very pleased that the Secretary of State is continuing his dialogue about the critical need to upgrade the Cumbrian Coast Line. The upgrade of this line is really important for our communities and businesses and the long term prosperity of Cumbria and I hope a positive decision will be reached.”

The public consultation on the A595 announced today will run from Wednesday 7 November to Wednesday 19 December and will include three public meetings. The Secretary of State also recently announced proposals which could reduce congestion on the A595 at Grizebeck, between Calder Bridge and Barrow.

Cumbria LEP submitted an early stage business case to the Department for Transport in July for Government funding to support the next stage of work on improvements to the Cumbrian Coast rail line. This is under consideration.

In line with the new ‘pipeline’ approach to rail enhancements published in March this year the proposed work would cover the ‘develop’ stage of the pipeline, leading to a subsequent decision on whether to provide funding for further stages.

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