Highways England give update on funding for A64 improvements

The saga to improve the A64 has been going on for decades.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 11:47 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 11:50 am

As the main connecting route to the coast from cities inland, the issues with the road are having a 'seriously detrimental effect on the regional economy' according to one MP.

Many campaigns over the years have sought to dual the A64, the most recent of which is focussing on the stretch from Hopgrove roundabout to the existing dual carriageway at Barton le Willows.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby and Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, have both been campaigning for funding to improve the road.

Traffic queuing on the A64. Picture: JPI Media

Several updates on improvements to the road have been announced by Highways England.

Highways England update

This week Highways England have confirmed that a number of options to improve the Hopgrove roundabout create a dual carriageway will now go through a rigorous consultation process with regional stakeholders and the public.

The process is expected to take about a year before a final proposal will be submitted to the Department of Transport for consideration alongside 32 schemes across the country.

MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake. Picture: JPI Media

Mr Goodwill said: “This is encouraging news. Although this scheme is over 30 miles away from Scarborough itself, this is the single most important infrastructure project for us on the coast.

"All too often our visitors are stuck in traffic on this notorious section which may put some off returning.”

Mr Goodwill added: "The need for this dual carriageway is greater than ever as the average daily traffic on the road is twice that recommended for a single carriageway.

"The problem occurs on a daily basis, and is often much worse at weekends and in the holidays when there is increased holiday traffic going to the coast. It is having a seriously detrimental effect on the regional economy.

Hopgrove roundabout. Picture: JPI Media

"I am pleased that working with other local MPs like Kevin Hollinrake we are in the next phase of the scheme development and I will be working with Highways England and the A64 Growth Partnership, made up of local businesses such as McCain and representatives from local authorities and the NHS, to make sure we get the best possible scheme."

Options for improving the A64

The various options for improvement include an upgrade at Hopgrove to include a single elongated signalised roundabout in conjunction with one of three options for dual carriageway schemes.

The three options are:

MP for Scarborough and Whitby Robert Goodwill. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

- either from a point 500m north of Hopgrove roundabout to the Jinnah Restaurant

- or one of two offline schemes which would take the dual carriageway away from the current road via either the FERA estate or close to Scotchman’s junction and back onto the A64 at the Jinnah restaurant.

The preferred scheme will need to provide value for money as well as a solution to the traffic congestion which has plagued the A64 for decades.

Mr Goodwill says he will be keeping in touch with developments at every stage of the scheme's development and offering whatever help he can and will continue to press the case for dualling with officials and ministers.

When will a decision be made

The Department of Transport is expected to make a final decision in 2024.

If successful, construction will be carried out in the building programme from 2025 to 2030.

Further safety improvements

Also this week Highways England have said they will be investing £8 million this year to improve safety and journeys on the A64.

Mr Hollinrake says the planned works will improve journeys for thousands of drivers who use the road.

The work includes resurfacing on the stretch between Barr Lane to Claxton and the Musley Bank westbound slip road.

Barrier work will be carried out at the Malton bypass and there will be improvements at Old Malton Junction and to the bridge at Flaxton Carr.

Drainage work will also begin at Rillington and continue between Sherburn and Ganton.

Mr Hollinrake said “It’s hugely important that we keep all sections of this much used road safe so I am delighted that Highways England is bringing forward this programme of work.

"It is a continuation of the improvements I campaigned for last year, alongside local councillors and residents.

"This included the first stages of drainage work between Sherburn and Ganton and traffic slowing measures through villages such as Rillington as well as pedestrian refuges at Welburn and Crambeck after four people tragically lost their lives within a month in 2017.”

Over the last two years Highways England have invested £26 million along the 55-mile route of the A64.