Work to begin on improving safety at accident blackspot

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SAFETY work is to begin on a North Yorkshire accident blackspot after years of campaigning by a county coroner and several leading politicians.

North Yorkshire Coroner Michael Oakley, Anne McIntosh, the Conservative MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, and Coun Clare Wood, have been leading the calls for work to improve Barton crossroads on the A64 York to Scarborough road, which has been the scene of a catalogue of serious accidents in recent years.

Now the Highways Agency has announced it has secured £212,000 to install new safety measures, with the work expected to be completed by March 2013.

Ms McIntosh said: “The A64 is a road of strategic economic importance for a large part of North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire coast.

“I believe there are compelling road safety reasons for improving the whole stretch.

“The A64 carries heavy holiday traffic but also considerable goods traffic from Leeds to North Yorkshire as well as serving many businesses on the route which are currently being severely delayed owing to the high level of traffic congestion.”

Mr Oakley said in a career spanning more than 30 years as a coroner he has conducted a number of inquests into fatal crashes at Barton crossroads, while the A64 was a “continual source” of fatal accidents. I have said for a long time that we are the poor relation when it comes to investment in our roads, compared with the south of England,” he said.

“The money involved in those accidents could have been used to carry out improvements to the A64.

“We are seeing increasing use of the road, especially with more people commuting from Ryedale to West Yorkshire.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The safety of the road network for all road users is a priority for the Highways Agency.

“With this in mind, the agency has given careful consideration to the concerns raised about the Barton Hill junction and has carried out a detailed study of options at the site.

“Preventing right turns at the junction has been identified as the best option to improve safety at Barton Hill.

“Formal consultations will now take place with a view to starting work on this significant safety improvement scheme in the autumn with all work being completed by March 2013.”