York Outer Ring Road to be dualled after consent is set to be granted for works to key arterial route

An application for the dualling of the York Outer Ring Road is set to be approved by a City of York Council planning committee.

Plans for improvements to the York Outer Ring Road, including its dualling, were revised following an initial application in 2022 and are now recommended for approval by council officers.

The plans also include improvements to roundabouts, provision of a 5.1km shared-use cycle and pedestrian route, signalised crossing facilities for active travel users, two overbridges and six underpasses for pedestrians and cyclists.

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It includes ancillary development including sustainable drainage measures, flood compensatory storage areas, woodland planting and landscaping, habitat creation, noise barriers, revised field accesses, associated infrastructure and earthworks as well.

Road signs near the Hopgrove Roundabout, YorkRoad signs near the Hopgrove Roundabout, York
Road signs near the Hopgrove Roundabout, York

Keane Duncan, Conservative mayoral candidate, said: “Dualling the ring road is absolutely essential.

“We must end York’s daily traffic misery by finally delivering this long overdue infrastructure upgrade.

“I fully support this project and hope it can secure approval at long last.”

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David Skaith, Labour’s candidate, said: “It’s important we have a complete and joined up plan for transport in York and the wider region.

“The council inherited the initial plan for the dualling scheme from the previous Liberal Democrat Green coalition.

“What is vital now is how we develop on this initial scheme and become far more ambitious in how we reduce overall car journeys by improving the bus network, investigate the potential for light rail and invest in cycling infrastructure which I will do if elected Mayor in May.

“Congestion in York has been an issue for years, and with the increase in housing being built, this will only get worse.

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“We must give people viable options to still be able to move around York but without always needing to rely on a car.

“Developing the ring road will play a key role in taking vehicles out of the city centre and allowing for more space for people.”

The south-eastern section of the YORR is part of the A64 and the north-western section is the A1237.

The upgrading will focus on the A1237 as this has been identified as the scheme most likely to reduce congestion. The council confirmed that dualling stretches of the A1237 to the west of the city, including the crossings over the River Ouse and East Coast Main Line, would be ‘prohibitively expensive’ because of the requirement to build new bridges. Full dualling in future has not been ruled out.

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The A64 section, east of Hopgrove, is managed by National Highways rather than the council, as it is a trunk road, so does not form part of the current scheme.

In 2021, Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton said in Parliament: “The dualling of the A64 was first mooted in The Yorkshire Post in 1905, since when it has been promised and cancelled several times, despite being much needed.

“Its delivery would massively reduce the journey time between York, Malton, Pickering, Scarborough and Filey.”

The scheme has been subject to more delays since Mr Holinrake made this statement to then-transport secretary Grant Shapps.

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In December, major schemes such as the outer ring road dualling and Haxby Station saw £23.1m and £14.9m taken from their annual budgets, leaving them with £1.1m and £157K respectively, but would be returned the following year.

Conservative group leader Coun Chris Steward, reacting to this at the time, said: “Given that the previous Liberal Democrat and Green administration was riddled with infighting about the A1237 dualling, such a significant change in spending from one year to the next will heighten concerns about Labour’s focus on delivering the project.”

But transport executive Coun Kilbane said they had been delayed due to “concerns over the technical detail of the proposal put forward” by the previous Liberal Democrat and Green Party coalition that ruled in York between 2019 and 2023.

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