Extra Funding For Transport Announced

Help for passengers to travel safely after lockdown and investment in railways and the A66 have been announced

New investment in roads, railways, cycling buses and trams has been announced today (Saturday 23rd May) by the Department for Transport.

£283m of funding increasing the number of buses and light rail commuter services which are operating as the country comes out of lockdown.

That's intended to make it safer and less crowded for people who do have to travel, but there's help too for those who choose to stay away from public transport by getting in the saddle.

Local authorities will be allocated a share of £225m to create cycle lanes, either temporary, or permanent. £25m will help people get their bikes repaired and £2.5m will create bike parking spaces at 30 English railway stations.

A new personalised rail information service - Passenger Connect - will help people avoid crowded services and warn them about disruptions - as well as suggesting alternative routes.

There'll be more people overseeing the rail network too, with some volunteers working alongside railway staff and British Transport Police.

Transport Secretary and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Grant Shapps, said, "From NHS staff to transport and shop workers, teachers, volunteers and all those staying at home, people across the country are all sharing the same public-spirited approach to tackling the spread of this virus and keeping others safe.    

"To make sure people can travel safely when they need to, we are increasing capacity on buses and light rail, as well as helping local authorities fast-track plans to support cyclists and pedestrians, further reducing pressure on our transport network.  

"These measures will help keep passengers safe now, but we must also prepare for what comes next. Strengthening vital road and railway connections, as well as encouraging cycling and walking, will be essential to our ambition to level up the country, secure a green legacy, and kickstart regional economies, as we build out of Covid-19 and look to the future."

Looking to the future the Department for Transport has also announced today its preferred route for the £1bn upgrade the the Transpennine A66.

That'll see the five remaining single carriageway sections of the route, which runs from Teesside to Cumbria, become dual carriageways.

Highways England’s senior project manager Matt Townsend said, "We are delighted more than 92 percent of people backed the idea of completing the dualling of the A66. Since the consultation ended ten months ago, we have carefully considered all the public responses. We have revisited issues such as the environmental impact of each option, how we can re-connect communities currently separated by the existing road and how to improve the route for pedestrians and cyclists.

"The options we have revealed today are the ones we want to take forward into construction, but they were also the most popular among people who responded in the consultation.

"We feel the proposals reflect ours and the Government’s vision of a Northern Trans-Pennine route fit for the rest of the century. They also reflect the aspirations of the majority of people, including a diverse range of interest groups, who engaged with us in many months of discussion or gave us their views during the consultation."

The scheme will involve:

As well as choosing the underpass instead of a fly-over at Kemplay Bank, Highways England is proposing the following options to bypass existing sections of the route or provide dualling alongside the existing single carriageway road:

  • A flyover at Kemply Bank

  • A northern bypass of a three-mile section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby

  • The northern bypass option for Kirkby Thore

  • The most northerly of two options bypassing Crackenthorpe

  • Taking forward the single option to dual a five-mile section between Appleby and Brough alongside the existing section of single carriageway

  • Converting a 1.9-mile section of the route north of Bowes – the current, single carriageway Bowes bypass - into a dual carriageway

  • A bypass south of the Old Rectory between Cross Lane and Rokeby instead of a conversion which would have required demolishing buildings

  • The most northerly of three bypass options linking sections of existing dual carriageway between Stephen Bank and Carkin Moor

  • Significant improvements to the existing junctions between Barnard Castle and the A66 at Bowes and Rokeby.

Highways England says in every case the chosen option was the most popular from their consultation and it's revealed the £45m design contract has been awarded to Amey Consulting in collaborating with Arup who'll draw up detailed plans before further public consultations and scrutiny take place next year.