EXCLUSIVE: Government "Considering" But Not Committed to A64 Dualling Plan
10:01pm 9th December 2014
The Department for Transport says it is "considering" dualling the A64 between Hopgrove and Whitwell Hill but has told Minster FM that it is not committed to the scheme yet.
However, the Chancellor did commit to spend £250 million to turn the Hopgrove roundabout into a junction with slip roads, like those for the A19 at Selby and at Grimston Bar in York.
After the government announcement, Roads Minister and Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill then raised the hope that any left over cash from the project at the Hopgrove junction could be spent on dualling the A64. But he pointed out on his website last week that this would be a "challenge" as the scheme is specified. He wrote:
“The announcement on Monday includes up to £250m to address the capacity problems on the Hopgrove section of the A64. Obviously the way to approach the upgrading has always been to start at the West where the traffic is heaviest. Once the road reaches Malton, the traffic splits with some going to Pickering/Whitby, some to Beverley/Driffield and quite a lot going to the Malton area as a final destination. Whilst Rillington can be a pinch point, the road generally runs OK to Staxton unless there is an accident. The traffic data bears this out. Hopgrove is a real problem east bound during the evening rush hour (particularly on Friday evenings) as the roundabout slows everyone down. The reduction to single carriageway is also an issue but if grade separation was carried out with a flyover then the Scarborough bound traffic would not be mixed up with cars wanting to go to York and Monk's Cross. Eastbound (on Sunday evenings) presents an issue at the end of the Malton Bypass and also at Hopgrove. This is despite the fact that the road goes to dual at Hopgrove but the Roundabout prevents the vehicles getting quickly onto the bypass at York. Grade separation will solve this straight away.
The budget for this is a massive sum of up to £250m which would then allow us to extend the dualling toward Malton. Our challenge, as the scheme is specified, is to get as much dualling as possible and to address some of the dangerous junctions such as those at Stockton on Forest and Flaxton.
The Northern York outer ring road is not a Highways Agency route and so cannot be part of this investment”.
When asked by Minster FM, both the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport confirmed that only the improvements at the Hopgrove junction were part of the bid which was awarded government cash. However, the Department for Transport said it was "considering" the proposals.
In a statement to Minster FM, a Department for Transport spokesperson said:
“The government has committed in the future to developing a scheme to upgrade the A64 Hopgrove junction to the east of York. As part of the detailed design of the scheme we will consider the case for dualling nearby sections of the A64.”
Earlier today, Barry Dodd CBE, Chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership said that now more needed to be done to make sure the whole of the A64 was dualled:
"This is a significant investment but it is only the beginning. Our LEP together with local companies have lobbied hard for this funding. The help provided by our MPs, Robert Goodwill and Anne MacIntosh has been invaluable. Clearly the government have listened and acted."
"Improving the A64 from Scarborough, whilst addressing congestion around York and Harrogate are strategic priorities in our Economic Plan and this investment further supports the potential of the region. This investment takes the total investment secured into delivering our Economic Priorities to over £450m and will help deliver much needed jobs and growth to the area."
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