Senior Cabinet members praise Yorkshire MPs' "very persuasive" A64 dualling campaign

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Senior Cabinet members have praised two Yorkshire MPs for their "very persuasive" lobbying efforts in the campaign to make the A64 into a dual carriageway.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry made the comments on a visit to the Yorkshire Post's offices on Thursday to discuss transport and infrastructure in the region.

A decision on whether the main road between Leeds and Yorkshire’s main coastal resorts will be given funding to become a dual carriageway as part of the next Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) is expected to be made later this month.

Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake and Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill have been longstanding supporters of the idea.

Mr Shapps said the pair had been frequent visitors to his office.

"They never cease to talk to me about the A64," he said. "I can confirm I am regularly lobbied."

His colleague Mr Berry praised the campaigning of the two Yorkshire MPs.

"Kevin Hollinrake and Robert Goodwill are very good, very persuasive MPs," he said. "Watch this space."

Mr Hollinrake said he and colleagues had done "everything we can" ahead of the decision.

"We are very hopeful," he told the Yorkshire Post. "We have run a very strong campaign, collaborating right across the region."

Mr Hollinrake and others say there is a compelling case for the upgrading of the road, which suffers severe congestion at peak times, for the sake of coastal tourism, businesses and local NHS trusts.

"We are very hopeful that the decision will be awarded in our favour, but of course we have been let down before," Mr Hollinrake added. "So there is a great deal of cynicism about whether we will get what we want."

Anything less than dualling of the road to reduce congestion, such as roundabout improvements, would be "a waste of time", the MP added.

Highways England undertook a study in 2014, which noted that the A64 north of Hopgrove carried “on average, double the volume of traffic a single two-lane carriageway is designed to cater for.”

Before Christmas, Mr Hollinrake questioned officials about the methodology which decides the cost-benefit ratio for the various schemes in consideration for the £25bn RIS2 programme.

He and fellow North Yorkshire MPs Robert Goodwill and Julian Sturdy also arranged for Roads Minister Baroness Vere to travel down the A64 to see the dire need for extra capacity on the road.

The MPs made the argument that more than seven million people visit Scarborough annually, each reaching their holiday destination by travelling along this one road. The route also acts as a vital artery for the York NHS Trust.

Mr Hollinrake added: "It all adds to the pressure.

"We have done everything we can."