‘Not acceptable’ - that is how North Yorkshire’s leader has described the Government’s apparent reluctance to commit to dualling a key section of the A64.
Addressing North Yorkshire County Council’s full council meeting today (Wednesday 15 May), Cllr Carl Les said the road – the responsibility of Highways England and one of the busiest routes in the region – should be regarded as a special case because of its strategic importance.
His statement referred specifically to a section of the road between the Hopgrove roundabout, on the edge of York, to the Jinnah restaurant, near Flaxton.
In March, Thirsk and Malton MP, Kevin Hollinrake, said he was seeking an urgent meeting with Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, in a bid to address fears the plans to dual the stretch had been shelved.
A letter sent by Highways England to the MP stated that recent assessments “had identified the need for a number of bridges along the route, which impacts the overall scheme cost projections”.
Today, Cllr Les, who has long championed the need for work along the A64, said: “Our continuing priorities for road improvements have a common theme – improving east west connectivity.
“The A66 has only a little mileage left to be dualled, Kex Gill needs a bypass and the A64 has been the subject of improvement considerations since 1913!
“There is speculation that Highways England are not committed to the next round of improvements, from the Hopgrove roundabout to the Jinnah restaurant, because additional bridge work makes the project more expensive.
“This is not acceptable.”
Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan outlined in February how there was a need to carry out enhancements, such as those requested for the A64, to improve journey times for drivers.
A failure to do so would, for example, have a detrimental effect on the employment opportunities of not only people living near the route but those travelling to and from the outer reaches of the county.
Cllr Les, who described the scheme as vital for improving East/West connectivity, added: “We will work with our MPs, our District and Borough colleagues and the A64 action group to make the strongest possible case to the Department for Transport that the A64 is a special case because of its strategic role in supporting the economy of the Coast.”