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Lake District’s “motorway” a top priority for transport chiefs

A major Cumbrian road dubbed the Lake District’s motorway is a priority for investment, says Transport for the North. The A591, which runs from Keswick to Kendal and through the heart of the Lake District National Park, has been included in Transport for the North’s Major Road Network scheme. TfN has identified nine A roads in Cumbria which, together with others across the North, will be submitted to the Government for backing as part of a national Major Road Network, which is out for consultation until March 19.

The network aims to identify strategically important roads that can help boost productivity and stimulate economic growth. The A591 was is included alongside A595, A596, A66, A590, A6, A7, A69 and the A5092, which connects the A590 and A595. The M6, Cumbria’s only motorway which feeds is A roads, is also identified as vital to the county’s transport infrastructure.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said he received reassurances from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, that the A591 would make it through to the Government’s Major Road Network. He said: “The A591 is essentially the Lake District’s motorway and we saw the huge problems that were caused to the county when Storm Desmond forced it to close in 2015. “This investment is badly needed if our area is to truly reap the benefits of the Lake District becoming a World Heritage Site.”

A three-mile stretch of the A591 was closed for just over five months following a land slip caused by Storm Desmond, resulting in lengthy detours and local businesses reporting a noticeable drop in trade. A spokesman for Transport for the North stressed the importance of the road, which is included in the plan but not highlighted in the same way as the A595 and A66 when it comes to supporting the Moorside nuclear power plant development in west Cumbria. “The A591 plays a key role in the Major Road Network of the North,” they said.

“It is a key road supporting the rural and visitor economy, connecting Cumbria and the Lake District National Park to the rest of the North and the UK. “Investment in the Major Road Network will enhance the strategic connectivity of all parts of the North for both people and goods and help to increase productivity of the North’s economic capabilities, including advanced manufacturing in Barrow and national energy production in West Cumbria. “We continue to work with our partners to identify where investment in the network will make the best contribution to supporting transformational economic growth.”

TfN’s Major Road Network was approved by civic and business leaders in September 2017 and is included in its wider draft Strategic Transport Plan.

The plan was launched at Carlisle College in January and is out for public consultation until April 17.

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