The entry into Hackthorpe northbound on the A6A6 in Kendal

The A6 in Kendal has over the past 40 years changed from a main two way road through the town centre through two one way systems to its present (controversial) arrangement. From when the A6 was first conceived in the 1920's up until the late 1960's the A6 through Kendal change little except for the adding of a couple of sets of traffic lights. The arrangement as it stood in the 1960's is shown below:-

 

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From the south the A6 entered Kendal along Milnthorpe Road, past nether bridge it became Kirkland then Highgate. At the junction with Lowther Street there was (and still is) some traffic lights which would cause tailback's along Highgate. At this point the A6 became Stricklandgate one of Kendal's main shopping street then made its way down to its junction with the A591 Windermere Road at the second set of lights. At which point the A6 turned right into Sandes Avenue, following this around a bend near the bus depot into Station Road to a junction with the A684/A65 just outside the railway station. At this point the A6 turned left into Longpool before coming into Shap Road at the junction with the A685 and heading northwards toward Shap Fells. Southbound was the reverse of this, however southbound traffic had the option of using the A65 from the A684 junction along near the River Kent to rejoin the A6 at Nether Bridge.

 
One Way System

 

Following the opening of these two roads Kendal followed the trend of many towns in the early 1970's and introduced a one way system. the southbound route along the A65 had long been used as a town centre bypass, this now became the main southbound route along with a cut off through Lowther street to join the northbound route which followed the course of the A6 through the town centre. The full system is shown below:-

 

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The one way system started off well with traffic being taken out of Kendal by the A591 bypass to the west and the M6 to the east the pressure had been taken off Kendal's streets. However this was 1971, over the next 30 years traffic increased with Queues forming along Highgate, and Aynam Road. This increase in traffic showed up cracks in the system which we will discuss below:-

 

One major problem was solved by the opening of the Romney Road Bridge in the early 1990's before this bridge being built traffic wanting to cross the River Kent in south Kendal from Milnthorpe Road to Lound Road had to make a detour of about 2 miles to cross the Kent at Nether Bridge.

 

Other Problems was the cross traffic on Sands Avenue. Traffic leaving Stricklandgate for the A6 north had to cross traffic from Windermere Road going to the A6 south in about 200 meters on Sands Avenue. The results is illustrated below:-

 

 

 

In this clip traffic is shown moving from Windermere Rod (Bottom Left) and Stricklandgate (Bottom Right) into Sands Avenue. Notice the crossover as Windermere Road Traffic heads for Blackhall Road (Centre Right) and Stricklandgate traffic heads for Sands Avenue (Top). It only takes a lapse of concentration to cause an accident. As shown at both Sands Avenue and Blackhall Road. Traffic would quickly build in Windermere Road and Stricklandgate bringing the one way system to a halt.

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A second problem occurred further down Blackhall Road. Southbound traffic was signposted to turn left off Blackhall Road onto Stramongate to join southbound traffic on the A6 on New Road by the side of the River Kent as shown below:-

 

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This is how the system was supposed to work with Traffic from Blackhall Road dividing, southern traffic going up Stramongate to join the A6 whilst Windermere Traffic would continue along Blackhall Road keeping in the right hand lane along New Road and being joined by traffic from the north to go up Lowther Street. However what was actually happening was as is shown below:-

 

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