About the project

The A66 is a key local, regional and national route for east/west journeys in the north of England providing vital connections for freight, tourism and businesses across the UK.

About the project

Legal challenge received

Following the Development Consent Order (DCO) approval in March, there was a legal challenge period which concluded on 18 April 2024. This period allowed for any challenges to be made by interested parties to the Secretary of State’s decision.  

There has been a legal challenge against the decision. 

We have been designing and developing the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, and we will continue to carry out archaeological investigations and preparatory works including utilities diversions during 2024.  

At this stage it is too early to say how much of an impact the legal challenge will have on our programme and start of works.  

We are disappointed about the legal challenge as we believe our proposals will provide much needed improved safety and reliability for drivers and businesses that use this vitally important route every day, while also delivering a boost to the regional economy. 

Development Consent Order approved

On Thursday 7 March 2024, the Secretary of State for Transport approved the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.

This means we now have planning permission to dual 18 miles of single carriageway between Penrith and Scotch Corner.

We are continuing to develop our plans, with archaeological work and preparatory utilities diversions currently taking place along the A66.

Once the DCO decision challenge period has concluded, we will be in a position to provide an update on when construction work will start.

You can find out more about the Secretary of State’s decision on the Planning Inspectorate's website.

National Gas Transmission work

On the section between Penrith and Temple Sowerby, one of the biggest construction challenges is the diversion of two National Gas Transmission gas mains. We're working with them to ensure the diversion can be completed using their statutory powers and at the earliest opportunity. Our work will involve the supporting construction of four site access points.

The work has started with the installation of safety barriers and widening field access near Center Parcs. There will be some overnight traffic lights and thank you for your patience.

Winter project update

We've produced our latest project update for winter 2023/24. Click here to find out more from our new Project Director Stewart Jones.

DCO decision delayed until 7 March 2024

On Wednesday 8 November 2023, the Secretary of State for Transport extended the Development Consent Order decision for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.  

The deadline for a decision to be made has been extended to 7 March 2024.

We remain confident in our proposals and we stand ready to deliver these improvements, subject to receiving a positive decision on the DCO and authorisation to proceed to construction. 

You can find out more about the Secretary of State’s decision on the Planning Inspectorate's web page.

DCO examination ends and new project update

On 29 May, the DCO examination for the project ended. 

Between 2019 and 2023, we have held a number of consultations with members of the public. The feedback we received has helped us shape our designs and I thank everyone for their engagement.

The Examining Authority now has three months to write their recommendation and submit it to the Secretary of State for Transport by the end of August.

We then await the Secretary of State’s decision in November. If the DCO is granted, then we will start work in 2024.   

The A66 plays an important role in the life of nearby communities, connecting people to jobs, education, health, goods, holiday destinations and other essential services.

If approved, the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project will support the regional economy and make the road between Penrith and Scotch Corner safer and more reliable for the thousands of people who use it every day.

We've also produced a new spring 2023 project update so you know what we've been up to over the past few months.

Temporary closure of Wetheriggs Country Park

RSK Structural Soils Limited are working on behalf of us to carry out ground investigation surveys, which includes boreholes and trial pits.

A borehole is a narrow shaft bored in the ground, either vertically or horizontally. A borehole may be constructed for many different purposes, including a geotechnical investigation, or as a pilot hole for installing piers or underground utilities. Trial pits are dug before the construction. They are dug to determine the geology and to study the composition of the ground. Marked in yellow on the map below, metal trackway will be used to move vehicles.

The work will help us with the final design of the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.

In order to carry out the work, we will need to intermittently close sections of the park between 9am and 6pm from 5 June to 9 June for no more than four hours each day. This is so vehicles and equipment can be transported across the park safely.  

Between these dates, we will keep disturbance to a minimum and the remainder of the park will remain open during the work. We may need to move machinery through the park between the closure dates so please be aware whilst using the park.  Fencing will be erected to guide pedestrians safely through the park at all times and we apologise for any inconvenience.

Wetheriggs Park map

Examining Authority accept DCO change proposals

Following our consultation and hearings in January and February, we’ve received a decision on how many of our design change proposals to the Development Consent Order (DCO) have been accepted by the Examining Authority.

More than 400 people attended the four public information events held at locations across the route to have their say on the 32 proposed changes.  

We received 184 responses from the public and stakeholders. Following feedback received, we carefully considered these responses and 24 of the 32 proposals were put forward to the Examining Authority for their consideration.

We received confirmation that the Examining Authority, who are leading the wider DCO examination, made the final decision to accept 22 of the 24 changes.

The two changes the Examining Authority are not taking forward into our DCO submission are:

DC-22 (Realignment of Warcop westbound junction)

DC-23 (Realignment of de-trunked A66 to be closer to new dual carriageway at Warcop)

Where can you find more information

Our change application has been uploaded to the Planning Inspectorate website page dedicated to the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.

Next steps

Interested parties can now submit any comments on the changes to the Examining Authority by Tuesday 9 May. 

The A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project’s DCO examination will conclude on Monday 29 May with the Examining Authority making their report to the Secretary of State by Tuesday 29 August.   

The project then awaits the Secretary of State’s decision in November. If the DCO is granted, then National Highways will start work in 2024.   

DCO design change consultation

We are looking to make 32 changes to the design proposals in our planning application for the project. This means we have launched a public consultation from Saturday 28 January until 11.59pm on Monday 27 February.


We need to submit these changes to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration. 


We are proposing to introduce these changes to the DCO application because we think they will benefit the final project.  


We have continued to talk to landowners and stakeholders, and our delivery partners have identified a number of opportunities to improve our project.  


These opportunities respond to feedback we have received, reduce the impact on the environment or reduce the amount of land we need to build the project. 


You can access our online consultation material from 9am on Saturday 28 January on the link below.


DCO application design change consultation



Development Consent Order accepted

Our Development Consent Order (DCO) has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) which means the project can move into the examination process.

To find out more about the DCO process and different stages, click here.

We've also produced an virtual environmental statement.

Developed designs

Following our autumn 2021 consultation, we’ve further developed our designs. Since last year, some of our proposals have changed, in particular for the M6 junction 40 to Kemplay Bank, Temple Sowerby to Appleby, Appleby to Brough and Bowes Bypass schemes. This means we have directly contacted the local communities affected and have been carrying out a smaller, supplementary targeted consultation with them.

We are also carrying out a targeted consultation with impacted landowners and local authorities on a number of the smaller more localised changes.

Updated map books

Please see links below to our latest maps of the individual schemes.

These maps are provided to update landowners and other stakeholders on our latest design as we progress towards our Development Consent Order (DCO) submission in spring 2022.

Map key

M6 junction 40 to Kemplay Bank

Penrith to Temple Sowerby

Temple Sowerby to Appleby

Appleby to Brough

Bowes Bypass

Cross Lanes to Rokeby 

Stephen Bank to Carkin Moor

A1(M) junction 53 Scotch Corner

The route

The A66 plays an essential role for journeys across the north of England and provides the most direct route between the central belt of Scotland and the eastern side of England. The route connects cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh with Leeds, Sheffield and Norwich.

It’s a critical route for freight, providing links to a number of international ports like Stranraer, Hull and Felixstowe and connects holiday makers to their destination, whether that be in the Yorkshire Dales or Lake District.

The A66 plays an important role in the life of nearby communities, connecting people to jobs, education, health and other essential services.

But sections of the road aren’t up to modern standards. It repeatedly widens and narrows, making it prone to congestion and delay.

The route carries high levels of freight, with 25% of the traffic being heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), more than twice the national average for a road of this nature.

We’re proposing to deliver one billion pounds worth of investment to dual the remaining single carriageway sections along the 50 mile stretch of the A66 between Cumbria and North Yorkshire.

This is one of the largest and most important highways investments in the north of England, and will significantly improve journeys, safety and connectivity.



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