PRESSURE is growing to‘get on’ with delivering a northern relief road for Kendal after the closure of the M6 led to the town becoming gridlocked - again.

The calls come after traffic ‘bedlam’ brought the town to a standstill after motorists were diverted through the centre of Kendal following the closure of the northbound carriageway until just before midnight due to a lorry catching fire.

The Kendal Northern Access Route scheme - which would see the creation of a new road connecting the A591 and the A6 to the north of Kendal - has been discussed for decades and in July this year Cumbria County Council secured Government approval and funding to develop the plans.

A council spokesman revealed a public consultation will be undertaken next year to help develop the plans, prior to the scheme’s business case being submitted to government.

“The next stage is the development of an Outline Business Case,” said the spokesman.

“This will consider options for the scheme before identifying a preferred option. Supporting this process, in 2022 a public consultation will be undertaken to gather feedback on the scheme and the potential options.

“The feedback from the consultation will be used to inform the business case for the scheme for submission to government. Government will then decide whether they would wish to support the delivery of the scheme.”

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron urged the Department for Transport and the council to ‘get it built’.

“How many more times has this got to happen before those in power wake up and realise that Kendal desperately needs a northern relief road?” said Mr Farron.

“For the sake of building just a two-mile single-carriageway road, we could solve this problem and actually make our town centre a far friendlier place for people to walk and cycle, rather than full of cars stuck in frustrating traffic jams.

“So, my message to the Government and the county council is this: please, no more delay. Get on with it and get it built.”

It is hoped the road will alleviate the town’s traffic problems and prove beneficial for the local economy.

County councillor Stan Collins, who represents Upper Kent, said: “I think that it’s a vital piece of the national structure apart from anything else.

“We occasionally get the main artery on the west side of the country cut and it’s all got to go through Kendal one way or another and it’s stupid.

“It’s also dangerous because there are plenty of things on the motorway that you wouldn’t want going through the town centre or going down country lanes."

He said the 1980 local plan for Kendal put all the business and industrial area in the north east quadrant of Kendal on the assumption that a northern bypass would be built in five years.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The proposed new road would support the delivery of future strategic growth in Kendal and improve access to existing employment areas as well as reduce congestion and increase network resilience within the town centre.

“It would also ensure that, when the M6 is closed between junctions 36 and 39, diverted traffic has an alternative route and won’t need to travel through Kendal town centre.”

Many residents have shown their support for the plan after last week’s chaos.

One said: “A Northern Relief Road in Kendal should be a priority as it would not only improve the traffic flow in the town, it would also open up the north of the town for a more balanced development.”

However, some feel the town’s traffic situation does not ‘justify’ the cost of the scheme and many have raised concerns about the environmental impact of the plans.

One resident said: “One day’s grid lock does not justify hundreds of millions of pound investment in a road that will make Kendal a ghost town.”

People can keep up to date on the scheme’s progress at