CAMPAIGNERS who have been fighting for a safer junction from the A66 to Ravensworth village, near Richmond, are meeting Highways England bosses next week to discuss new safety measures.

Following the announcement of £1bn investment to create dual carriageway along the A66 from Scotch Corner to Penrith by Transport Minister Chris Grayling this week

, the A66 Action Group is calling for changes to be made to a notorious junction as soon as possible.

Ken Bell, from Ravensworth, said he welcomed the news of the upgrading of the A66, but it was predominantly the junction near Fox Hall Inn where a woman recently died, that concerns him the most.

The Northern Echo:

He said: "We have been campaigning for many years but the fatality in March just galvanised us again. We have a meeting with Highways England next week where we can discuss our concerns and ideas, and hopefully something can be put in place to make the junction safer before the A66 upgrade."

He said he understands that the process from consultation to completion for the A66 dual carriageway works could take about 10 years – but he hopes a temporary solution could be found for the junction before then.

"If they were able to spend money on a new layout on the junction and better visibility then it could save lives," he added.

Richmond MP Rishi Sunak has been a supporter of the campaigners, and a spokesman for his office said he would continue to lobby Highways England on their behalf.

He added that Mr Sunak was pleased the consultation was going ahead, and the sooner the work starts, the better.

Matt Townsend, senior project manager for the A66 upgrade, said at the consultation launch: "The Ravensworth junction is really important.

"The new dual carriageway plans will provide safer access for local residents, and will make it much easier to get between communities.

"In August 2018 we carried out road patching work along this stretch of the A66 and refreshed sections of the road lining.

“A further refresh of lining in this area took place in April.

"We are also looking into options to increase visibility at the Ravensworth junction by removing the hedgerows.

Mr Townsend added: “A temporary 50mph speed limit was introduced in October 2018 and we have just completed a survey looking at the rate of compliance within the area. The results of this survey will help determine what further measures can be undertaken, and we will be working with the local authority and the police to pursue enforcement options.”