TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling left his latest mess in Westminster to come to the North-East today to make a very welcome announcement:

the Government is consulting on how to upgrade the A66 to dual carriageway status.

He had a look at the road while his colleagues in London looking over his shambles of a privatised probation service – an extraordinarily poor idea which has reaped predictable results.

Taking in the beautiful scenery through which the A66 runs was probably a welcome break for Mr Grayling, but he must take back with him the need for urgency. Thirty years ago this newspaper was running a “fix the 66” campaign – indeed, the Romans were probably complaining about the carriageway when they first built it 2,000 years ago. Successive governments have failed to improve what is a death trap which harms the economy.

This corner of North Yorkshire will remember how its upgrade of the A1(M) was ready to go in 2010 only for George Osborne to announce a moratorium due to his age of austerity. Nothing happened for a couple of years, except more money was wasted, and then the project got under way.

What’s the betting that Mr Grayling will soon depart from office, a new Transport Secretary will come in and review major projects and the £1bn fix for the 66 will be delayed again?

Why can’t Mr Grayling’s department be brave: the consultation finishes on Thursday, July 11 – why can’t work begin on Monday, July 15?