Plans for the Carlisle Southern Link Road pre-date the arrival of the M6 in 1970. Now, 50 years after it was proposed, it is close to becoming a reality.
The road would connect M6 junction 42 at Carleton with the A595 and the start of the Carlisle Northern Development Route at Newby West.
Cumbria County Council is consulting on two possible routes. Once it identifies a preferred option, the council will prepare an outline business case to secure funding from the Department for Transport.
Construction could start in spring 2020, with the road opening in spring 2022.
Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “This road is long overdue. It is, in effect, the missing link that will complete a continuous ring road around Carlisle.
“It should be hugely beneficial for businesses by allowing traffic on the A595 to reach the M6 and A69 without passing through the city centre.
“Carlisle has only two crossings of the River Caldew – Bridge Street and Nelson Street – and that has the effect of funnelling traffic through the city centre.
“By providing a third crossing of the Caldew, the Southern Link Road should reduce congestion on Wigton Road, Dalston Road, London Road and Warwick Road, just as the opening of the Carlisle Northern Development Route in 2012 reduced traffic volumes on Scotland Road and Kingstown Road.”
He added: “The Chamber is 100% behind the Southern Link Road, but it is far from being the only relief road that Cumbria needs. The Kendal Northern Access Route and Whitehaven Eastern Relief Road are priorities too.”
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is conducting a survey of businesses’ views on transport issues in an attempt to influence government policy.
To take part in the survey, click here.
Rob said: “We’re gathering information from businesses for our response to the consultation on Transport for the North’s draft Strategic Transport Plan.
“This is an important document that will shape transport policy across the north of England until 2050.
“It’s vital that the views of Cumbria businesses are represented. We’re asking businesses to tell us about congestion blackspots, parking problems, and which road and rail improvement schemes would help them.
“I’d urge businesses to complete the survey. It takes only a few minutes. The more feedback we get, the better informed our response will be.”
Cumbria County Council’s consultation on the route of the Carlisle Southern Link Road runs until March 9.
Two options are under consideration, one passing immediately south of Brisco and Carlisle Racecourse, the other further south beyond Durdar.
More information is online here.
The council is also staging consultation events where the public can speak to members of the project team.
This is the missing link that will complete a continuous ring road around Carlisle.
The first is tomorrow, Friday February 2, at Carlisle Racecourse from 1-8pm. The second is on Saturday, February 3, also at the Racecourse, from 10am-5pm. There will be two more in the Lanes Shopping Centre, opposite Clarks, from 10am-5pm on Friday and Saturday February 9 and 10.
These are joint events with Carlisle City Council, which is consulting on proposals for St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.
This would see up to 10,000 homes built on the southern fringe of Carlisle along with schools, employment sites, shops and green spaces.
The Southern Link Road was first proposed in the 1960s. The expectation that it would be built was a factor in Pirelli choosing Dalston Road, Carlisle, as the site for a new factory, which opened in 1968.
The first manager of the Pirelli site, the late Allan Dickinson, was an enthusiastic proponent of the link road who campaigned for it until his death in 2008. He argued that it would be more effective than the Carlisle Northern Development Route at reducing congestion in the city centre.