THE only solution to traffic problems on the A64 in North Yorkshire is to upgrade it to dual carriageway, Highways England has concluded.

Its conclusion in a feasibility study has been welcomed by local MPs and other campaigners, who have been calling for an upgrade to the road – sections of which are already dualled – for several years.

The A64, which runs between Leeds and Scarborough, is mostly single-carriageway between York and the East Coast and contains several bottlenecks where tailbacks stretching several miles can build-up.

The road has also seen eight fatal accidents in less than a year.

Originally Highways England proposed creating a flyover at the Hopgrove roundabout on the eastern edge of York –prompting Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake to campaign for it to reconsider, claiming this would simply create another pinch-point further along the A64.

Mr Hollinrake described the latest announcement as “fantastic news”.

He has been working with MPs Robert Goodwill and Julian Sturdy, the A64 Growth Partnership, which includes businesses along the route together with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, local authorities, councillors and the York and North Yorkshire Chamber, to significantly improve connections between the city and the coast.

This includes providing dual carriageway between York and Malton and safety improvements, which would utilise the full £250m that the Government allocated in the national road strategy for an A64 Hopgrove upgrade. He has also met with transport ministers several times to make the case for more funding.

Julian Rudd of the A64 Growth Partnership said: “The Highways England report is very welcome news - but we have been at this stage before and we must ensure that this time the dual carriageway and other improvements are actually delivered.

“Local politicians, councils and businesses are united and we will not rest until the A64 is upgraded, including a dual carriageway between York and Malton.

“This will require a full commitment by Government to the provisional allocation of £250m.”

The news has coincided with the launch of an initiative by the A64 Growth Partnership on Friday, July 7, to support the improvement of the road to stimulate growth in the region.

Highways England has revealed in its feasibility study that all the options under consideration will include a dual carriageway from York to Barton Hill. It will now conduct a more detailed examination into environmental issues, traffic data, side roads and cost before making a recommendation following a consultation period in 2018.

Mr Hollinrake added: “We hope this section will be delivered by 2023 but we also need a sequential approach to include a further section of dual carriageway, from Crambeck to Malton, and then specific improvements east of Malton such as the Rillington by-pass.”