To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects the upgrading of the A66 between Penrith and the A1 to start; and when it will be completed; (2) when he expects work to start on the upgrading of the A74 to motorway standards between Carlisle and the Scottish Borders. 
I have asked the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Tim Matthews, to write to my hon. Friend on these two issues.
Letter from Tim Matthews to Mr. Eric Martlew, dated 19 May 2003:
David Jamieson has asked me to reply to your two recent Parliamentary Questions asking when work will start on the upgrading of the A74 to motorway standards between Carlisle and the Scottish border, and the expected start and completion dates for the upgrading of the A66 between Penrith, and A1.
A 74 Upgrading
In February this year, a contract was awarded for the design and construction of the A74 Carlisle to Guardsmill scheme using an innovative procurement method known as Early Contractor Involvement, by which it is expected that projects may be delivered more quickly. The current programme shows a start of works in September 2005 with road opening by September 2007. This is subject to completion of the necessary statutory procedures, which include the expected publication next January of draft formal proposals under the Highways Act that are required to give legal authority for the upgrading. The route being followed was announced in June 2002 and follows closely the existing A74.
In November last year it was announced that the Agency had appointed consultants to undertake preliminary survey and design work in order to determine the feasibility of upgrading the whole of the A66 between Penrith to the west and the Al at Scotch Corner to the east to dual carriageway. A number of possible schemes have been identified on which preliminary work is continuing and on which it is expected that the public will be consulted towards the end of the year. If it is then decided that these schemes should be added to the Government's Targeted Programme of Improvements, it is expected that they would be completed within seven years of entry, or sooner.
In addition to the schemes that are still under investigation, preparation work is in progress on three schemes on this route which are already included in the Targeted Programme of Improvements. These schemes, with their estimated dates for completion, are as follows:
A66 Temple Sowerby and Improvements at Winderwath 2006–07
A66 Carkin Moor to Scotch Corner Improvement 2006–07
A66 Greta Bridge to Stephen Bank Improvement 2007–08
I hope this is helpful. If you would like any further information on the A74 Upgrading you may wish to contact the Agency's Project Sponsor for this Ziad El Balbisi, at Sunley Tower. Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, Ml 4BE telephone number 0161 930 5822. For further information on any of the proposals forming part of the A66 Upgrading would you please contact the Group Leader, David Harvey, at the same address telephone number 0161 930 5601.