UP to 17 dangerous gaps in the central reservation of the A19 could be closed, according to a safety study called for by two MPs.

The gaps in the busy dual carriageway between Dishforth, near Thirsk, and Crathorne, near Yarm, have been identified in a Highways England (HE) report drawn up following pressure from Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, and Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton.

The report was commissioned in December last year after an inquest into the death of a pensioner who died when a van crossed from one carriageway to another through a gap and hit her car head-on.

The two MPs and the Coroner who held the inquest joined with the family of the woman who died – 83-year-old Sonia Rose, of Carlton Miniott, near Thirsk – to demand safety improvements.

Highways England have agreed to close the gap where Mrs Rose died – Stony Lane, near Osmotherley – and embarked on a major study of all the A19 gaps between the junction with the A1(M) in North Yorkshire and the Tyne Tunnel.

Senior HE officials recently updated the MPs and Mrs Rose’s family on progress with the review and the proposed safety improvements.

Ben Dobson of HE’s operations directorate said that the A19 in North Yorkshire had three times more gaps than a typical dual carriageway and the stretch between Crathorne and South Kilvington had the most serious accidents in recent years.

The HE report had identified 17 gaps where the optimal solution was closure and another 39 where safety improvements would be appropriate.

The closures would be subject to funding and consultation with local users and communities, as was currently the case with the gap at Stony Lane.

Mr Hollinrake, whose constituency covers where the late Mrs Rose lived, welcomed the report.

He said: “I’m pleased that Highways England has carried out this study and the results certainly show that, subject to funding and consultation, there are a number of actions which could be taken to improve safety.

“I’m delighted to be able to represent the family of the victim of this terrible tragedy and applaud their efforts to prevent another similar incident. It’s important we do everything we can to make sure the road is as safe as possible.”

Mr Sunak, the MP in whose Richmond constituency the fatal accident happened, said the study showed the significant improvements could be made to the road’s safety.

He said: “Highways England have responded positively to our concerns and I welcome the results of the study.

“I think it is important to stress that no gaps will be closed without consultation with local residents and farmers

“But we have seen with the plans for Stony Lane and Mount Grace Priory that where alternative access options are available, gaps can be closed and safety improved.”