A bypass to ease congestion on the A635 in South Yorkshire has moved a step closer to reality after winning the backing of Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis.
City Region transport experts are now working with officials at Doncaster and Barnsley councils to draw up a strategic outline business case for a bypass that would take traffic away from the villages of Hickleton and Marr.
It follows a high-profile campaign from residents, who have complained of heavy congestion, air pollution and road safety issues due to the volume of traffic passing through the villages.
Yorkshire's most polluted village fears more traffic misery as HS2 approaches
A 2016 traffic census showed Hickleton - a village of around 300 people has more than 20,000 vehicles passing through it each day – almost 3,000 of which are lorries travelling to and from warehouses and industrial estates on the outskirts of Barnsley.
Mayor Jarvis said: "After 30 years on the drawing board, I'm delighted that I've moved the Hickleton/Marr bypass a step closer to being realised.
"I've written to John Cridland from Transport for the North to highlight the importance of the proposals; I will be making the case with Government, and my team will soon be starting on the business case with our local authority partners.
"I believe it's critical that, working with partners in South Yorkshire and across the North, we find a solution to deliver this important link road.
"A bypass would be great news for residents of these villages, for businesses in the area, and for all of us who want to see improvements to South Yorkshire's transport network.
"While there is still a lot of work to do, this is undoubtedly an important day for all those who have campaigned on this issue for decades."
Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “A bypass for Hickleton and Marr is much needed and something that the council has put forward as a major scheme for several years and I will continue to push for, as I would like to see this scheme become a reality."
She said air quality concerns raised by residents continued to be monitored by Doncaster Council.
Barnsley Council leader Sir Stephen Houghton said: "We’re already seeing the benefits of opening up areas of the Dearne Valley, including improved roads into our borough and the building of new homes and business parks for businesses to relocate and thrive.
"However, we do recognise the high impact volumes of traffic are having on residents living in Hickleton and the surrounding areas.
"We're working closely with our partners across South Yorkshire and Transport for the North to help Doncaster in their efforts to address the issue, while at the same time looking at the future of the Dearne Valley area so we can get the best outcomes for our residents and businesses."
Work on the strategic outline business case (SOBC) will begin in the coming weeks.