WORK is due to start this month on closing crossing points and barrier gaps on the A19 in North Yorkshire, almost three years after the death of Sonia Rose sparked a major road safety campaign.

Thirsk grandmother Mrs Rose, 83, was killed when a van veered across the road and into her path on a stretch of the A19 between the A684 Ellerbeck and the A172 Cleveland Tontine junctions in September 2016.

At the inquest into her death, Coroner Michael Oakley said he was concerned by the multitude of crossing points on that stretch of road and called for the Department for Transport to consider the closure of many, if not all, of the gaps on the road.

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The D&S Times, sister paper of The Northern Echo, supported this assertion with the launch of the 'Close the Gaps' campaign backed by Thirsk MP Kevin Hollinrake - whose constituency includes Carlton Miniott where Mrs Rose lived - and Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak, whose constituency the tragedy happened in.

And now, following recommendations from a report commissioned in December 2017, the Highways Agency has confirmed that work to close crossing points in the central barrier will begin in next week.

The main construction work will start at Stony Lane on Monday, March 18 to close the gap in the central reservation.

This includes extending the barrier and altering the lining at the junction so drivers can only make left turns into and out of the side road on to the A19.

The work is due to be finished by April and then in September work will be carried out at the Mount Grace junction.

Alterations will be made to the road markings including providing a lane for drivers exiting on to the A19 and additional signage will be erected.

This work is expected to take around two months.

Rishi Sunak MP welcomed the news, saying: “I know the wait for these works has been frustrating for the family of the late Mrs Sonia Rose but a legal process had to be followed which consulted all the people potentially affected by the closure.

"I am pleased that this has been accomplished and this very busy stretch of the A19 can be made safer.”

Highways England’s project manager Ben Dobson said: “The safety of drivers on the A19 is of the highest importance to us and we continually look at any safety improvements we can make.

"As part of our work to further improve safety along this route between Dishforth and the Tyne Tunnel we have been carrying out a review which looks at a range of safety options including if any of the gaps can be closed.

“This work is continuing and we have started to design some further improvements which could be put in place when future funds becomes available.

"Any proposals for significant change to the A19 will obviously consider the diverse needs for the communities who use this road.”

The Agency has already carried out improvement work to junctions at the Black Swan at Elwick, Kirby Sigston and Silton crossroads.