RESIDENTS living near a busy stretch of road are looking forward to some peace and quiet following the announcement of resurfacing work.

For years, town and parish councillors, along with fed-up home owners, have put pressure on the Highways Agency to cut noise levels on the A19 and A168 Thirsk bypass.

This week, the Government has decided to step up its commitment to tackling the problem, with Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announcing a package of road improvements that includes significant resurfacing work on the Thirsk carriageway.

While the prospect of a quieter road comes as good news to both motorists and residents, resurfacing of the Thirsk bypass will not take place until the later stages of the programme, between 2007 and 2011.

Despite the wait, local resident and councillor Jan Marshall is thrilled with the news.

"Finally, the road will be resurfaced and that is absolutely brilliant.

"The noise on the road has been an increasing problem with the steady rise of traffic and something has needed to be done for years," she said.

As a councillor for North Yorkshire County Council, Hambleton District Council and Thirsk Town Council, Coun Marshall has long campaigned for work to be done on the road.

"Talking with all hats on, this is an issue that I have been keen on and have been pressurising authorities to deal with," she said.

Coun Marshall has lived near to the road, in Woolmoor Close, for 20 years and she said the noise pollution is getting worse.

She said: "I know I represent the many residents in east Thirsk and Sowerby when I say laying a quieter surface on that stretch of road is vital."

The Government's plans to resurface noisy, concrete roads are part of a bigger programme that will also tackle congestion and safety problems across the country.

Mr Darling said that the resurfacing work had been prioritised to tackle the worst affected areas first.

He said: "We now have a programme to remove concrete surfaces from the trunk road network that will benefit many thousands of households across the country."