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Satisfaction survey follows £5 million A66 work

Aerial picture of new surfacing and road markings at Kemplay Bank roundabout along the A66 south of Penrith providing safer and smoother journeys for people travelling through the junction with the local road network, including the A6

Highways England has launched a ‘how did we do?’ questionnaire after completing one of its biggest ever maintenance projects in Cumbria – the £5 million Eden Valley package along the A66 between Penrith and Brough.

The survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/a66edenvalley, on the project’s dedicated webpage at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/A66EdenValley and is also being delivered to homes across the area from tomorrow (Friday 21 December).

And to coincide with the 10 questions survey, the company is publicly thanking thousands of lorry drivers, other road users, residents and Cumbria Police for their support over the autumn after the project was completed on time and on budget.

The work, which involved full re-construction and resurfacing of a section of the road between Low Moor and Kirkby Thore – as well as resurfacing along 6 other sections of the route – required 7 full weekend closures of the carriageway  between Penrith and Brough with the road reopening after the last of these on Monday 22 October.

Aerial picture showing resurfacing of the A66 outside Kirkby Thore village – one of 7 resurfacing
improvements delivered between Penrith and Brough during the £5 millon project

Highways England project manager Steve Mason said: “Our conversations with local communities and road users have been crucial throughout and now the work’s finished we want to hear from people if they think there is anything we could have done differently in any aspect of the planning or construction phases.

“The launch of the survey is also an opportunity to thank local people, local businesses, haulage firms, councils and Cumbria Police for their support and patience during the work.”

A stretch of the A66 between Sandford and Walkmill Bends was also resurfaced and benefited from new road markings – making for safer, smoother journeys.

Although feedback from local communities and road users will form part of the project review, Highways England says it has already received congratulations for the way the way the scheme was planned and delivered from Bolton Parish Council and British Gypsum which has a site, heavily reliant on traffic movements, along the A66.

Highways England says several aspects of the delivery – not least the fact there wasn’t a single reportable accident in 96,600 working hours delivered by almost 800 staff across the 11 scheme partners and contractors involved – were also pleasing.  Other highlights included:

  • Shaving £1.3 million from project costs by delivering 3 years of resurfacing works in a single package
  • Working alongside archaeologists to ensure the Roman foundations at Kirkby Thore were treated sensitively – with remains of a Roman settlement, grave and pottery unearthed and protected
  • Incorporating extra work to lay 200 metres of new mains water pipe at Kirkby Thore to avoid future disruption to residents and drivers
  • Delivering communications before the start of work which involved 45 public drop-in sessions, targeting 88 UK Ports with closure information and, during the project, trialling a new free text alert system – a first for Highways England – to give drivers and residents regular updates on project progress and road closures
  • Innovating by using a GPS-guided robot to paint white lines and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system as part of diversion route low-bridge alert
Skirsgill Interchange – one of the busiest in Cumbria – at junction 40 of the M6 and which connects the motorway to the A66 also benefited from a major programme of resurfacing

The resurfacing work itself – with the biggest schemes at Kirkby Thore (£1.3 million) and M6 Junction 40 roundabout (£876,000) – required 360 vehicles with up to 530 staff on site or monitoring diversion routes at any one time.   As well as laying 20,600 tonnes of resurfacing material along 50 miles of carriageway the project also involved replacing 1,500 metres of kerb and verge hardening and 275 metres of fencing, installing 99 new signs and marker posts and 4 new bridge joints, and using 102 tonnes of paint to refresh 6,000 metres of road markings – all already helping to give drivers safer, smoother and more reliable A66 journeys.

Highways England also used the closures as an opportunity to carry out routine maintenance such as litter picking and drainage cleaning.

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