Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill continues to lobby for A64 as road misses out on funding yet again

The A64 missed out on investment cash yet again in last week’s Spring budget.

By Corinne Macdonald
Thursday, 19th March 2020, 10:17 am
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 10:18 am

In his announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered plans to allocate £27bn of funding for the next phase of the Government’s Road Investment Strategy (RIS2).

A Department for Transport document revealed the roads which would benefit from the investment, but despite hopes it would be included, the A64 was missing from the list.

Instead, the dualling project for the road from Hopgrove roundabout to Barton-le-Hill is being considered for RIS3, not slated to take place until after 2025.

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The A64. Picture: JPI Media

A Highways England study carried out in 2014 found that the A64 carried, on average, “double” the volumes of traffic it is designed to cater for north of Hopgrove.

Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill, who alongside Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake has continually lobbied for the project, said it was “good it was still in the pipeline”.

Mr Goodwill said: “I would have preferred [the project] to be accelerated but it’s good it’s still in the pipieline.”

The MP explained that Highways England analysis had indicated the amount of traffic expected to use the road if it were to be dualled would increase significantly as currently quite a lot of people go out of their way to avoid the A64.

Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Due to this, flyovers would be needed at several junctions along the route for traffic to safely exit the dual carriageway.

He said: “When [Highways England] did the detailed work they realised it would suck in more traffic and they would have to do the other junctions as well which pushed it into the next price category.

“Kevin, myself and Julian Sturdy (MP for York Outer) will continue to keep up the pressure and I have already contacted Baroness Vere at the Department for Transport to make sure she’s well aware of the desparate need for it.”

In a recent North Yorkshire County Council meeting, frustrations with Highways England led to some calling for it to be stripped of its responsibilities in the county as part of the area’s devolution deal.

The authority’s deputy leader Councillor Gareth Dadd said: “They are an unelected quango and are not answerable to anybody but a government minister.”

Cllr Dadd went on to suggest as part of its devolution deal, local authorities in York and North Yorkshire could press the Government to include handing over the Highways England roads in the area.

When asked about the idea, Mr Goodwill said he would be “very much in favour” if it meant the A64 secured funds sooner.

He said: “If that was a way of securing money for [the A64], I would be very much in favour.

“If we can get control of money quicker it would be a good thing but I’d want to be absolutely sure it would make [the project] happen faster.”