Long traffic delays caused by crashes on the A590 are to be discussed by highways bosses and police chiefs.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for highways, has pledged talks with senior police officers about the gridlock.

Cllr Little, who served in Cumbria Fire and Rescue for 27 years, said the length of time the A590 is now closed after a collision was ‘unacceptable’.

He told a council meeting: “It is a sad situation when anyone loses their life. I have a personal concern about the road closures after these traffic accidents and the length of time they are taking.

“I attended numerous road accidents on many busy roads and there was always a desire, particularly by the police, to get the road open very quickly and get the traffic flowing.”

“The A590 is a very busy road and with the expansion of Barrow shipyard, it is only going to get worse,” said Cllr Little, the Labour member for Maryport South at a meeting of the county council.

Cllr Matt Brereton said the delays underlined the need for a ‘joined-up approach’ to accidents by the authorities, including Highways England.

Cllr Brereton, who represents High Furness for the Conservatives, said the Government’s roads minister may also need to get involved.

Cllr Brereton said accident blackspots need to be dealt with, widening options explored, improved visibility introduced and the worst corners and junctions examined, including Newby Bridge and Gilpin Bridge.

Cllr Brereton said: “We clearly do need better resilience planning so that we don’t see what we see all too frequently – a complete closure of the main artery into the south of this county. We also need to look at the day-to-day use, not just of the A590 itself, but those roads around it.”

“In my division, there is a frequently used rat run through Spark Bridge to avoid the main roundabout at Greenodd. It is leading to problems with congestion, speeding through 30mph zones and putting extra strain on the roads maintenance the county highways have to deal with.”

Cllr Little told him: “I will be meeting with the chief constable or her representatives at a high level and will talk through how we can mitigate some of the rat-running that takes place.”