AFTER years of pressing for improvements to the A595 Dove Ford bottleneck near Grizebeck, Furness MP John Woodcock and campaigners today claimed victory when transport secretary Chris Grayling announced a bypass will go ahead at the notorious pinch-point.
Mr Grayling made the announcement at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. The Grizebeck bypass will be one of five network schemes to benefit from the new Major Road Network fund.
John campaigned in parliament and held many meetings locally to push for improvements.
He said today: “I am proud to have worked alongside local campaigners – including members of the A595 Action Group – and this announcement is fantastic news.
“I am also glad to have been able to have campaigned with Copeland MP Trudy Harrison in pressing for work to be carried out and in parliament on July 11 nuclear minister Richard Harrington MP gave an undertaking that he would become personally involved in trying to persuade the department for transport to upgrade the notorious bottleneck that was holding back our vision of a corridor of global nuclear excellence between south and west Cumbria.
“It was gutting when we found out after the election that Dove Ford was being left off the list for improvements but all the hard work since then has paid off. Mr Grayling himself acknowledged the problem of his department excluding Dove Ford when we met him about the rail crisis in the summer and today we can celebrate one of the biggest transport campaigning victories in Furness for quite some time.”
Simon Fell, Conservative Spokesman for Barrow and Furness, has welcomed today’s announcement, speaking at the Conference, Simon Fell said: “I’m glad that after years of campaigning on this issue, the Government has pledged action to fix the A595. I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of many who have doggedly campaigned on this issue.
“It beggars belief that one of the main roads in our area runs through a farmyard and I look forward to this dangerous bottleneck being removed.
“I took Chris Grayling to Grizebeck with Trudy Harrison last year to see the bottleneck for himself. He was staggered by what he saw then, and I’m very glad that his warm words are now being translated into action.”
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “This is great news for Cumbria and we welcome it. Cumbria County Council has been proactively lobbying government to secure essential funding to improve this road and we are very pleased that the government has now listened to us. The Grizebeck bypass is a really important scheme for Cumbria and for its communities and businesses and the county council has undertaken significant work already to start developing a potential scheme which it has been proactively promoting to the Department of Transport and Transport for the North.
“The next step is for Cumbria County Council to prepare and launch a public consultation to ensure that the very best scheme is now developed going forward. We look forward to working with the Department for Transport and Transport for the North as plans progress to deliver this important infrastructure upgrade.”
The Dove Ford choke point is acknowledged to be one of the most hazardous stretches of road in Cumbria and is one of the key improvements targeted in the area’s economic plan championed by the local enterprise partnership and the Furness Exobomic Development Forum.
Traffic tailbacks are commonplace because the road struggles with the volume of traffic and the size of modern vehicles – many of them HGVs serving the civil nuclear industry in west Cumbria.
John Woodcock MP added: “The announcement from the Department for Transport makes clear that development work is expected to start immediately. It is quite something to go from off the list completely to being one of the first five of the schemes across the country to be approved.”