HOPES of dualling the A64 in North Yorkshire have been given a massive boost with news that four detailed options are now being examined by transport bosses.

Highways England has concluded that further improvements to York's Hopgrove junction alone would fail to deal with notorious congestion problems, and the pinch-point created by the single carriageway east of it needs to be tackled.

Transport specialists are now working up four quite different options to provide a dual carriageway - three of them along the full 9.5kms of existing single carriageway between Hopgrove and the next section of dual carriageway at Barton-le-Willows.

Two of the options follow the route of the current A64 for 1.8 km from Hopgrove and then take a new alignment before re-joining the current A64 near the Jinnah Restaurant.

One runs to the south and east of the current route and the other runs to the north and west, but details of the proposed routes will not be revealed until next year.

A third option follows the current route as far as possible to reduce costs and environmental impact.

The final option would only provide dual carriageway as far as a new roundabout at Towthorpe Moor Lane.

Two further options for improving the Hopgrove junction further are also being assessed, as Highways England has concluded a dual carriageway upgrade without roundabout works would be unlikely to provide the required benefits.

Details of the proposals have been presented by Highways England, to the A64 Growth Partnership, an alliance of local businesses, MPs, local authorities, trade organisations and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership.

A partnership spokesman said that although it was acknowledged that the fourth option did not fully address the main source of congestion, it was being looked at further because of its financial and environmental benefits.

He said experts were now looking in detail at the potential environmental impacts of each of the upgrading options and would assess the costs and benefits of each approach.

A bespoke traffic model, taking account of leisure traffic and vehicles who use alternative local roads due to congestion on the A64, had been developed to understand the impacts of the different approaches and a public consultation on the options would take place in mid 2018.

Barry Dodd, chair of the enterprise partnership, said it welcomed the news but it was vital to dual all the way from from Hopgrove to Barton-le-Willows, instead of stopping short and moving the congestion a little further up the road.

"Improving the connectivity of the transport network east-west across our area is vital for our growth, and nationally, we must work with everyone to make our united voices heard and make this investment happen," he said.