HOPES of improvements to one of the busiest trunk roads in North Yorkshire have been given a boost.

Consultants have completed an in-depth study into the A64 on behalf of a group of regional partners.

They concluded there was a case for improvements which would bring considerable transport and road safety benefits and create up to 1,150 jobs over a 30-year period.

The study was commissioned by a group including Scarborough Borough Council, the county council, Ryedale District Council, the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, the Highways Agency and the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward.

The study, by consultants Steer Davies Gleave, examined ways that development of the transport infrastructure could help regenerate towns and rural communities along the A64 corridor.

Its findings suggested that full dualling of the road would reduce fatalities by 22 per cent and serious casualties by 57 per cent.

The partners are now seeking a meeting with the Department of Transport to seek a commitment to look further at the issues raised.

Councillor Godfrey Allanson, Scarborough Borough Council's cabinet member for environment, transport and public health, described the report as a major step forward and something the authority had been working towards for months.

He said: "It is excellent news that this report, which has the backing of the major regional bodies and our local authority partners, makes the case for significant improvements to the A64.

"We have always argued that this road is of major significance to the region and that improving it would bring great benefits in terms of both economic growth and transport links."

Coun Allanson said the council's vision was to achieve the renaissance of the North Yorkshire coast by 2020 and improvements to the A64 would be of great help to the process.

He added: "A dualled A64 would help us regenerate Scarborough, improve the wider coastal environment and bring more, better quality jobs and investment to the borough.

"I hope that this study will give the weight needed to our argument to get some real progress from the Government."