Urgent Improvement Needed for the A595


Copeland MP: Government must look again and invest in our key infrastructure

A595Following the announcement that a section of the A595 will be closed to allow Highways England to undertake improvement works to a roadside embankment, West Cumbrian MP, Jamie Reed has written to the Government calling on them to use this opportunity to fully assess the whole road with a view to providing investment for improvements.

Jamie Reed has long campaigned for improvement works for the road. The local MP has argued that the assessment work needed for the planned works should be extended given that the current road has faced major problems in recent years.

In his letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Jamie Reed has stated:

I would also encourage the Government to use this opportunity to fundamentally assess the current state of the A595 and evaluate how fit it is for the needs of West Cumbria. An answer to a Parliamentary Question in the previous Parliament revealed that between 2004 and 2013 the road was closed or had access restricted on average once every five days or over 700 times.  It was also revealed that in the same time period there were over 1200 road traffic incidents.

He has also criticised the Government for overlooking the A595 in two recent reports into improving the road network in the north of England.  Transport for the North and the National Infrastructure Commission have both recently published reports that do not contain any improvements for the A595.  The Copeland MP has said that the “decision to overlook a key route in a region providing nationally strategic work should be revisited immediately.”

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:

“The A595 is simply not fit for purpose.  Between 2004 and 2013, it was closed or had access restricted on average once every five days.  Locally, we are trying to build a 21st century economy, but are stuck with 20th century infrastructure.

“West Cumbria is on the verge of a truly transformative era.  The investment we are seeing in our communities means that the potential for economic growth in our region over the coming years is considerable.  We have the potential to become an economic driver not just for Cumbria or the north, but for the entire country.  Having infrastructure that is fit for purpose is critical to achieving this potential.

“The Government should use this opportunity to assess the needs of our communities and ensure the A595 can deliver these.  The repair works that are necessary near the Howgate Roundabout means that assessment works are already underway.  This assessment should be extended to take into account the whole route.  The Government simply must invest in our key infrastructure.”

 

You can find Jamie Reed MP’s full letter to the Secretary of State for Transport here:

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

Secretary of State for Transport

Department for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London

SW1P 4DR

 

8 April 2016

 

Dear Secretary of State,

 

Potential works on the A595 at Low Moresby and Lowca

 

The A595 is the main artery of West Cumbria.  Many thousands of people use the road everyday and it is absolutely key for the economic prosperity of the region that the A595 is fit for purpose.

 

As you will be aware, it has recently been discovered that a major landslip has occurred on an embankment next to the northbound section of the A595 between the Lowca junction and Howgate roundabout.  The landslip means that extensive remedial work has to take place to repair the embankment to protect the road.

 

I understand that Highways England’s preferred solution is to construct a temporary road to mitigate the disruption caused by this closure of this section of the A595.  Will you ensure that Highways England has the resources it needs to ensure this solution can be pursued?  The Government should also ensure proper consultation with nearby communities to ensure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum throughout this process.  The alternative is a 40-mile diversion that would cause a significant amount of disruption for many and would have a profound economic impact.

 

I would also encourage the Government to use this opportunity to fundamentally assess the current state of the A595 and evaluate how fit it is for the needs of West Cumbria. An answer to a Parliamentary Question in the previous Parliament revealed that between 2004 and 2013 the road was closed or had access restricted on average once every five days or over 700 times.  It was also revealed that in the same time period there were over 1200 road traffic incidents.

 

It is clear that even under current conditions, the A595 is not fit for purpose.  In 2014, the then-Minister for Disabled People, Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, wrote to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport stating ‘it was clear from my visit that the A5959…would benefit from investment to improve and widen the road.’  I have enclosed a copy of this correspondence for your information.  When considering that the region is about see major economic expansion with the influx of thousands of new jobs and the additional works transport associated with the construction of new nuclear reactors at Moorside, urgent improvement to the A595 is necessary.

 

Recently, Transport for the North and the National Infrastructure Commission have both published reports into road improvement works in the north of England.  Both of these reports ignored the pressing need for improvements to the A595.  The decision to overlook a key route in a region providing nationally strategic work should be revisited immediately.

 

West Cumbria has the potential to become one of the fastest growing sub-regional economies in the entire country.  To enable the region to achieve its economic potential, we need infrastructure that can cope with the demand.  Investment in the A595 is critical to achieving the aspirations of the area and I implore the Government to use this opportunity to fully assess the needs of the community and how the A595 can be improved to deliver these.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jamie Reed MP

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