POOR visibility and complicated markings at a notorious A19 crossing require further action from highway authorities, Hutton Rudby parish councillors believe.

They are worried that specific difficulties at the Black Swan crossing have not been fully addressed in a highway consultancy's recommendations to North Yorkshire County Council.

Despite some recent alterations, there remains poor visibility and confusion at the point where Hutton Rudby, Potto, Swainby and Rountons motorists contend with each other, plus A19 traffic travelling at 70 mph or more.

The crossing has been the scene of many serious and fatal crashes. Last year, consultants' firm Halcrow was commissioned to study the stretch of the A19 from the Yarm/Crathorne junction to Osmotherley, including the Cleveland Tontine A172 junction.

It was asked to pay particular regard to the many gaps in the A19 central reservation used by slow-moving traffic. Additional surveys were conducted at the two busiest gaps - the Black Swan crossroads and the staggered Ingleby Arncliffe crossing.

Surveys showed more than 400 vehicles crossed at the Black Swan in one 12-hour period, while more than 140 used the Ingleby Arncliffe junction, which also serves East Harlsey.

Also last year, talks were held with farmers, parish council representatives and some residents. An assessment of likely diversions was produced, based on theoretical gap closures.

Recently, some lane marking improvements were carried out at the Black Swan , but Halcrow says a three-year period is needed to measure success.

Rudby Parish Council read Halcrow's report at its recent meeting.

The recommendations were:

* no change in the current Black Swan layout;

* experimental gap closures for up to 12 months at both Ingleby Arncliffe gaps;

* the banning of U-turns at two other gaps north and south of Ingleby Arncliffe, to prevent consequential rat-run manoeuvres.

Vice-chairman Coun John Richardson said: "Halcrow seem to have been fairly thorough. These recommendations will hopefully improve the situation without too much inconvenience to anybody. I think we should recommend this report."

Coun Peter Markey said: "The big new Hutton Rudby sign at the Cleveland Tontine junction is an improvement, but the weak point is the Potto turn-off, near Swainby. It needs some kind of lighting or studs."

But Coun Irene MacDonald said the Potto road, Black Horse Lane, was inadequate for extra traffic.

"It has no road markings or central white line. There is also quite a camber where it falls away at the edge. Almost every vehicle travels on the crest of the road. It's not up to standard. It needs markings and ditches filling-in."

But Coun Stan Lennox disagreed. "I use it frequently at all times of the day and avoid the Black Swan. If Black Horse Lane was improved, traffic up would simply speed up."

Coun Grieve said: "These changes are designed to stop accidents and improve safety. But we don't know what the overall effect will be. Some suggestions would affect 500 vehicles a day.

"I'd like to know these changes will not cut accidents at one point but increase them elsewhere."

The parish council is sending its comments to the highway authorities and considering further talks