£7m works boost A66 flood resilience – and bats

Highways England has completed a series of major engineering improvements – not to mention bat roosts – costing £7m along the A66 in Cumbria.

The works, completed this week, included measures to improve flood resilience, such raising carriageways near the Bassenthwaite Lake.

During the project, Highways England also resurfaced other sections of the route to save closing the road again, cleared 40 tonnes of storm debris from a large culvert underneath the road, improved pedestrian crossing facilities at Dubwath crossroads, and built a new bus shelter complete with bat roosts.

Highways England project manager Peter Gee said: ‘This is a significant investment in the county’s road network and will provide even greater resilience during severe weather incidents – keeping local people and the economy on the move.’

‘Working to deliver these improvements at five different sites has been a major engineering and project planning challenge – not least in raising the height of the carriageway by almost 1.5 metres in places.’

Highways England said that although the A66 generally copes well with prolonged rainfall, it was affected by flooding from the lake during the storms of November 2009 and again in December 2015 and it has been determined to reduce the risk of future disruption.

In all, five sections of the route, a mix of dual carriageway and single carriageway sections, have improved.

The phases included:

  • £1.5m spent on raising the eastbound and westbound carriageways by 70 centimetres at Embleton
  • a further £600,000 realigning and raising the westbound carriageway alongside the lake near Smithy Cottage
  • £2m and £1.7m projects to raise the carriageway alongside two Osprey-watching sites alongside the lake near Thornthwaite
  • £1.1m stabilisation work along the rock face along the westbound carriageway to prevent severe weather land slippage

Raising the carriageway over a total length of 1.6km  plus resurfacing a total of 3.2km of the road, has involved using 31,000 tonnes of surfacing material. The work has also involved installing:

  • almost 2km of new safety barriers
  • 1km of new kerbs and drainage
  • 250 metres of gabion wall
  • 6 new flood relief culverts and 800 metres of filter drain
  • 1,600 large soil nails to improve embankment stability
  • 2,550 square metres of rock netting

An improved and enlarged layby at Blackstock also opened this week.


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