Furness communities have been united in welcoming this week’s announcement from Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, that a plan to upgrade the road at the notorious Dove Ford pinchpoint between Grizebeck and Kirkby-in-Furness on the A595 has been elevated to one of the UK’s top five road schemes.
Cumbria County Councillor Matt Brereton, the Conservative representative for High Furness, in which the traffic blackspot lies, welcomed the announcement and praised the concerted efforts of local campaigners: “Some of my earliest memories of the drive to and from Barrow from Millom and Broughton were of sitting in the back of the car, queueing through a farmyard on a road barely wide enough to carry a single car, let alone allow lorries and buses to pass.
“In almost 40 years, the situation at Dove Ford has deteriorated rather than improved, culminating regularly in total gridlock during peak times. Local people were despairing we would ever find a solution and it seemed we were forever overlooked whenever bypass schemes were announced.
“So it’s a great testament to the perseverance and single-mindedness of local campaigners that we now find ourselves with real hope of a lasting solution. The local parish council, the A595 Action Group and elected politicians of all parties and persuasions have been speaking with one voice. I really think this has been the key to breaking the decades-long deadlock – it’s so refreshing to see people united in optimism rather than pointing the finger of blame and playing party politics.
“I must also praise officers of Cumbria County Council, who have worked assiduously to come up with a comprehensive set of proposals, ruling out those previously suggested solutions that were unlikely to work in order to put forward a genuinely workable scheme.
“Local residents, businesses and commuters will soon have their chance to give their feedback via public consultation, and we need to ensure that whatever bypass route is approved has the full backing of the community.
“Nothing is signed and sealed just yet, but it is fantastic that we now have real momentum after years of false starts and dead ends. Spades could be in the ground inside a couple of years, which is just brilliant.”