THE battle to improve one of the main routes to the coast which caused yet more traffic misery over Easter is being stepped up amid fears the north could lose out to the south.

Moves to upgrade the A64 to dual carriageway have been dealt a blow after highway bosses revealed it was being viewed as "low value for money".

Local MP's have protested to the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake says the assessment is 'clearly ludicrous'. He added: "Chris Grayling is openly supportive of the need for the dualling and ultimately it will be a political decision. I will be working with the A64 Partnership and fellow MPs Robert Goodwill and Julian Sturdy to ensure the vital investment is secured."

The Northern Echo: DELAYS: More delays are on the cards after doubts over funds for improvements on the A64DELAYS: More delays are on the cards after doubts over funds for improvements on the A64

Concerns rose after an assessment by Highways England (HE) and rumours that the scheme for the A64 East of York, one of the main routes to Scarborough and the coast, is competing with similar ones in the south, including an expressway between Oxford and Cambridge.

"Loss of our scheme to a southern-based project would be outrageous and unacceptable," said Mr Hollinrake.

In 2017 four detailed options for dualling beyond Hopgrove, one of the worst affected areas, were examined which concluded further improvements to the junction alone would not deal with congestion problems.

Fears over the dualling being in jeopardy rose after experts said a number of bridges would be needed, pushing up the costs.

Now Elliot Shaw, executive director for strategy at HE has said traffic modelling showed solutions would need grade separation of junctions and bridges which along with other factors has pushed up the costs.

He said: "At present the scheme is assessed as being low value for money, but we’re planning to start some additional work to try and identify more affordable solutions.." Mr Shaw stressed no decisions had been taken and stressed HE are committed to seeking "workable, affordable solutions."