TRYING TO CROSS, LEAVE OR JOIN THE A66 IN EMBLETON PARISH AND NOT ENJOYING THE EXPERIENCE?
The good news is that members of Embleton and District Parish Council are working with Highways England and Cumbria County Council Highways Transport Department to improve matters.
Three county roads, three farm entrances, four public rights of way and the United Utilities sewage works have junctions with the A66 trunk road through Embleton parish and it has long been a concern of those who use them regularly that the safety aspects of those junctions leave a lot to be desired. This concern is not the preserve of the motorists but it also concerns the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
Joining or crossing the A66:
1 Poor sight lines owing to the curving nature of the A66
2 Drivers overtaking on A66
3 Drivers undertaking vehicles waiting to turn right off A66
4 Untamed vegetation
Turning right on to a County Road from either Keswick or Cockermouth [daytime]:
1 No safe refuge whilst waiting for sufficient gap in queue of oncoming traffic.
2 Feeling at the mercy of fast-moving, following traffic
3 Being overtaken, especially if using one of the more minor exits, eg to Scales Farm
Turning left on to a County Road from either Keswick or Cockermouth [daytime]:
Following vehicles do not slow down, so left-turning driver has to make a speedier-than-he/she-might-wish turn.
Turning left or right into a County Road from either Keswick or Cockermouth [night-time].
The basic problem comes down to the difficulty in identifying the actual A66/minor road junction/farm entrance: i.e. “Where do I turn?”
1 Direction boards are not illuminated.
2 Dazzling headlights of both oncoming and following vehicles. Modern LED headlights can be piercing, even when dipped and especially on higher vehicles.
3 No clear markings to indicate the junctions. Watching out for the absence of nearside red cat’s eyes isn’t sufficient.
4 Absence of general lighting of the junctions to alert all road users that they are there.
Use of the ‘Weak Bridge’ (near Caterite) from/to the A66:
1 This has become a popular junction to use, but if a turning vehicle meets on-coming vehicles in the lane over the bridge and therefore has to stop to allow space to pass, any following driver wishing to make the same turn can find themselves still on the trunk road.
2 Large wagons using this junction invariably have to straddle the A66 to make their turn into, or out of the junction.
In the light of these concerns the Parish Council is discussing with Highways England how best to tackle these issues, and in January 2020 a questionnaire was circulated to all parishioners as well as to the professional bodies that use the Embleton stretch of the A66 regularly in order or seek their views.
The questionnaires were to be returned by 29 February 2020 and the A66 Sub-committee of the Parish Council analysed the returns:
Sixty-one questionnaires were returned, which amounted to an excellent 25% return and we wish to thank everyone very much for not just completing the questionnaires but also for doing so in such a thoughtful, measured and constructive manner. We analysed all the responses which, shorn of the detail, amounted to heartfelt requests to make the A66 safer for all users along with a number of well-reasoned suggestions as to how this might be achieved. The analytical process coincided with lockdown, so it was only in early August that Highways England have been in a position to request our analysis. It was duly forwarded to HE and it has been acknowledged.