|Location Map ( geo)|
The A66 passes the town in an east-west alignment, with a southern bypass of the town. At the midpoint of this bypass, the A5086 is met at the Lamplugh Roundabout. The A5086 heads north into the town centre and south towards Egremont. At the western end of the bypass, Low Road Roundabout gives access into the town centre along Low Road, while the A595 comes in from the north, carrying traffic from Carlisle. The A66 continues westwards, multiplexing with the A595 towards Workington and Whitehaven.
The A595 route from Carlisle forms a western bypass of the town. About a mile NE of the A66, Belle Vue Roundabout marks the meeting point of the northern end of the A5086 and the A594 with the A595. From here, the A5086 heads south, descending Gote Brow (with an S2+1 climbing lane) and crossing Gote Bridge to meet Low Road just outside the town centre. The A5086 heads east along Crown Street, then turns south again outside Wordsworth House (home of the poet), and heads out of the town centre, continuing on to meet the A66 bypass.
Outside Wordsworth House, the B5292 appears, continuing eastward along the wide Main Street. It could be argued that this stretch of road is D1, as traffic splits to pass a statue of Mayo (a 19th Century MP for Cockermouth who was assassinated) and a series of decorative flower pots, as well as the town's Christmas tree at certain times of the year. However, this road also turns south to head up Station Street. There is soon another sharp eastward turn outside the Sainsbury's superstore, along Lorton Road. The B5292 continues out of the town in a SE direction towards the Western Lake District, passing beneath the A66 bypass via an underpass, without a junction.
There are no classified routes out of the eastern side of the town centre, as climbing from Market Place onto Castlegate Drive involves a small stretch of S1 road, where traffic heading downhill has to give way to that heading uphill and out of the town centre. However, this is the main access to the town's secondary school and cottage hospital, causing it to get rather congested. However, the A66 bypass heads east towards Keswick.
In the coming years, considerable development is expected in the Lorton Road area of the town, with at least 300 homes already under construction. This will mean around half of the town's population will be funnelled into the town centre via the B5292 if they wish to quickly access the outside road network. This has lead to calls for a new junction to be built on the A66 bypass at the B5292 underpass or the nearby Strawberry How Road bridge.
Highways England maintain the A66 bypass of the town, as well as the A66/A595 multiplex to the west of Low Road Roundabout, as these are trunk roads. All other roads in and around the town are non-trunk, and therefore are maintained by Cumbria County Council.
Cockermouth and the surrounding area has a rich history of roads. With the Roman fort Derventio lying just outside the town, roads have been serving the area since the Roman times. One road headed north towards Carlisle and Hadrian's Wall, while one headed towards the coast at Maryport, where another fort was located.
In 1922, a number of roads in Cockermouth were classfied. The A595 came in from the north (Carlisle) and met the B5299 at a T Junction in Belle Vue, just outside of Cockermouth. The B5299 headed west towards Maryport. The A595 TOTSOed at Belle Vue, entering Cockermouth town centre by descending Gote Brow and crossing Gote Bridge. Here, it TOTSOed at a T Junction again, heading west out of the town along Low Road towards Workington. Heading east from here is the A594. The A594 heads east along Crown Street, Main Street and through Market Place. It then headed out of the town centre up Castlegate, carrying traffic off towards Keswick and Penrith.
About halfway along Main Street, the B5293 heads south at a T Junction, heading along Station Street. The B5292 then heads eastwards at another T Junction along Lorton Road, just as it does in the present day. The B5293 continued straight ahead here, carrying traffic out of the town towards Egremont along Station Road.
However, by the mid-1920s, things had already changed in Cockermouth. The B5299 from Belle Vue to Maryport was reclassified as an extension of the A594, which now multiplexed with the A595 over Gote Bridge and up Gote Brow. Also, the B5293 had been upgraded to the A5086 along its entire length.
The end of the 1960s saw the arrival of the A66 to West Cumbria, which was extended from its previous terminus in Penrith along the A594 to Cockermouth, then the A595 towards Workington. This meant that Low Road, Crown Street, Main Street, part of Market Place and Castlegate were all renumbered to A66, and granted trunk status. This also saw the end of the A594/A595 multiplex down Gote Brow as the A594 now terminated at Belle Vue Roundabout.
The extension of the A66 brought major upgrades to the road network around Cockermouth, which was bypassed to the south by 1976. Following the construction of the bypass, the A66 now goes round the town on its present day alignment. The A5086 met the bypass at a staggered crossroads. The route of the A5086 was diverted along Gallowbarrow, Sullart Street and Crown Street, to meet the A595 at Gote Bridge. Here, the A5086 terminated, while the A595 headed west along Low Road, until it reached the new A66 bypass at a T Junction, after which it multiplexed until Chapel Brow, where the A595 headed south at a T Junction to Whitehaven and the A66 continued west to Workington. Furthermore, the B5292 was extended along the former route of the A5086 down Station Street, and then along Main Street until the Sullart Street junction, where it met its new, and present day, terminus.
The western bypass was constructed in 1991, involving the building of a new crossing over the River Derwent, Papcastle Bridge. Three roundabouts were constructed, one at the A66/Low Road T Junction (now known as Low Road Roundabout), one at the staggered crossroads with the A5086 (now known as Lamplugh Roundabout), and a brand new replacement of the Belle Vue Roundabout. The A595 was diverted down the new bypass, while the A5086 took over the route up Gote Brow to the new Belle Vue Roundabout. As a result, Low Road became unclassified, while the A594 terminus was moved to Belle Vue Roundabout.
The former Belle Vue roundabout has now been returned to a T Junction layout, though all the classified routes have now been realigned to approach the new roundabout, causing the former A594 and the former A595 from the north to be bisected.
A flooding event in 2005 led to ankle depth floodwater on the B5292 section of Main Street, however, the road was not closed to traffic.
In the mid/late 2000s, Station Street, which carries the B5292, was made into a one way street, meaning traffic can only travel from Main Street. As a result, traffic from Lorton Road has to go up Station Road to join the A5086 and go down Gallowbarrow to get to Main Street.
In November 2009, a much larger flooding event (up to 8 ft deep on B5292, Main Street) led to the lengthy closures of Gote Bridge and Cocker Bridge (linking Main Street to Market Place). It took several months before the bridges were reopened. Papcastle Bridge was also closed during the flooding event leading to very long diversions, but reopened the next day.
As a result of larger volumes of traffic using the A66 and A595 bypasses during these closures, Low Road and Belle Vue Roundabouts saw some slight changes. At Low Road Roundabout, the A66 Westbound approach has the left lane for A66 traffic only, while all other traffic uses the right lane. At Belle Vue Roundabout, the A595 northbound approach has the left lane for A594 traffic only, while all other traffic uses the right lane. These alterations are still in place at present day.
|Workington, Whitehaven (A595)|
|Lorton, Loweswater, Buttermere|
|Whitehaven, Workington (A597)|