UK: A74 upgrade begins
A scheme to beat congestion and improve safety between Carlisle and Guards Mill has begun
United Kingdom – A project to minimise traffic jams and enhance driver safety on the A74 between Carlisle and Guards Mill has started.
The £175 million project was opened by Douglas Alexander, the secretary of state for transport and for Scotland.
Work on the 5.8-mile stretch of road aims to provide the ‘missing link’ in the motorway network between England and Scotland, as part of the government’s aim to reduce congestion.
The A74 is the main westerly route between England and Scotland and is used by over 44,000 vehicles a day, which is equivalent to three-quarters of the cross border traffic and includes around 10,000 heavy goods vehicles.
"This project will close the ‘Cumbrian gap’, reducing congestion and making the route safer for the many thousands of road users that use the road every day," Mr Alexander said.
"Work starts 2006-07-26 and when completed in December 2008, will provide a motorway route from London to Glasgow. This is a major project for the benefit of everyone who uses the M6, as well as local communities."
The scheme includes a new all-purpose road to be built alongside the new motorway to cater for non-motorway traffic.
The project also incorporates the construction of a new bridge over the River Esk to carry both motorway and non-motorway traffic and the replacement of the Mossband Viaduct, which carries the A74 over the West Coast Mainline.
Carefully planned to blend in with the landscape, the work will additionally include shaped earthworks and extensive planting of trees and shrubs.
Measures are being taken to protect and enhance wildlife, including the introduction of badger and otter-proof fencing and tunnels to give wildlife a safe route under the motorway.
The improvements are close to several areas of environmental interest, including the Upper Solway Flats and Marshes (SSSI, SAC, SPA and Ramsar site) and three mossland County Wildlife Sites, which will also be protected and improved.