Cumbrian businesses are being urged to respond to proposals for a £1 billion upgrade of the A66.

Highways England is consulting on a scheme to create a continuous dual carriageway from Penrith to Scotch Corner.

It is planning a series of public drop-in events before the consultation closes on July 11.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s important that businesses examine these proposals to see how they might be affected.

“It could be that construction work interferes with your business or a new bypass leads to permanent loss of trade. If that’s the case, make your views known.

“In some places the plan is to widen the existing road while in others there will be a completely new alignment.

“The intention is to allow A66 traffic to avoid Kemplay Bank roundabout at Penrith by building either an underpass or a flyover, and there will be a bypass for Kirkby Thore.

“The chamber met Highways England in March, in part because we were concerned about timescale slippage and the potential for disruption during the construction phase.

“Although disruption and delays are inevitable, businesses will welcome the upgrade. It has been a long time coming.”

The Department for Transport is due to publish its preferred route next spring. Subject to funding, work should start in 2024 and take at least five-and-a-half years to complete.

Details of the proposals, drop-in events and how to respond to the consultation are available at