Hopes to improve the safety of residents that live next to the A19 in North Yorkshire have been put forward after families have had to put up with seeing "dead bodies" at the scene of numerous fatal incidents over the years.

The stretch of the A-road, which runs alongside Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, has been the scene of countless serious and fatal incidents over the last decade - due to a 'problem' junction.

The junction, which is next to the former Haynes Arms pub, is known in the area for its dangerous nature, due to anyone turning out of it having to do so onto a 70mph carriageway, and those turning from the southbound carriageway into the junction have to cross four lanes of traffic.

The Northern Echo: The junction turn-off on the A19, near Kirby SigstonThe junction turn-off on the A19, near Kirby Sigston (Image: GOOGLE MAPS)

Anna Kitching, who lives in a house next to the junction, has been campaigning to close the junction - with her family setting up a petition to the government earlier this year.

Through the years, Anna has recalled several bad traffic accidents, some of which were fatal, that she and her family have been "first to the scene" - including several that have seen her family having to help unconscious people out of vehicles and even seeing dead bodies on the A19.

Anna said: "These crashes on the stretch of road have gone on for years. It never seems to get any better. We are constantly hearing crashes and sirens from emergency vehicles. 

The Northern Echo: Anna Kitching, who lives on the junction of Kirby Sigston, near the A19Anna Kitching, who lives on the junction of Kirby Sigston, near the A19 (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

"The sound of metal from cars hitting one another is almost numbing - you already know what has happened before you look outside.

"It's horrendous - people say for us to put our house up for sale - that's not a solution, it's just passing off responsibility for the safety of people."

A snapshot of the road's issues:

  • 2007: Philip Jones, 28, died on the A19 close to the Haynes Arms public house, at Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, on June 2, 2007
  • 2011: A young woman was killed after a two-vehicle accident which closed the A19 in both directions tonight
  • 2013: Roy Mackenzie, 35, from Thirsk, North Yorkshire, was killed in a collision with a truck on the A19 near Northallerton. He managed to get out of his car only to be hit by a second lorry
  • 2017: Sonia Rose, 83, from Carlton Miniott, near Thirsk, was killed on the road near Northallerton in September 2017, after a box van swerved from the opposite carriageway and into her path
  • 2023: HGV driver killed on the A19 between Cleveland Tontine and the Kirby Sigston Turn-Off

Following a resurgence of the campaign to close the section of the A19 and the petition, an MP has now spoken out about the possibility of closing central reservation gaps on the A19.

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake says he has met with National Highways about the permanent closures of gaps in the A19 - and highlighting plans for more closures in the future. 

Currently, no firm plans have been made to look at the Kirby Sigston turn-off, but Mr Hollinrake has called it a 'step in the right direction'. 

He said: "I recently met with National Highways for an update on safety improvements to the A19. In August 2023, safety improvements were completed to each of the central reserve gaps on the A19 between Tontine and Black Swan Overbridge, which included the permanent closure of five gaps.

The Northern Echo: The A19 from the end of the junction at Kirby SigstonThe A19 from the end of the junction at Kirby Sigston (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

"This scheme will help to improve safety on the A19 in one of the busiest sections in North Yorkshire.

"I'm also pleased to inform people about funding to deliver safety improvements to each of the central reserve gaps on the A19 between Knayton and Ellerbeck, with work to start in September 2024.

"This work will see a range of improvements delivered at each gap including central reserve barrier improvements, new signing and clearer road markings, as well as looking to permanently close some of the gaps that are rarely used by customers - I am assured this will be subject to a public consultation."

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has also spoken about the A19 junction at Kirby Sigston, which he uses to get to his house.

He said: “I understand the resident’s concern as I use the junction regularly and several local residents have contacted me

“I have been working on the safety of the A19 for several years which has resulted in the closure of four gaps between the Black Swan crossroads and the Tontine.

“National Highways are working on designs for the stretch south of Osmotherley and are about to start consultations on proposals for a number of the junctions, including Kirby Sigston.

“I understand a package of improvements are proposed for the junction to improve its safety.”

A spokesperson for National Highways added: "Safety is our top priority and we’re exploring options for potential additional safety measures at this junction."