My neighbouring parliamentary colleague, Rishi Sunak and I have stepped up our campaign to secure safety improvements to a key trunk road running through the heart of our constituencies by continuing to press for junction improvements to the A19 dual carriageway between Thirsk and Teesside.
We held a virtual meeting with officials at Highways England to review progress on the programme of improvements designed to reduce the number of accidents caused by the many access junctions and gaps in the central reservation. The campaign has already secured the closure of one gap, at Stony Lane, near Osmotherley, and work is due to be complete on a new access for Mount Grace Priory. This closes the reservation gap and introduces acceleration and deceleration lanes.
At the meeting, we pressed Highways England to progress the work on up 40 other junctions/accesses on the road which carries up to 32,000 vehicles a day. They are drawing up detailed proposals for each junction. The potential safety improvements will range from further gap closures to better signing and road markings. Any proposal for an individual junction will be subject to discussion with local residents, farms and businesses.
Highways England has since assured us that it remains committed to the programme of works and the allocation of funding to complete it. Whilst this work will necessarily take a number of years to deliver, it will be a fitting memorial to Mrs Rose from Carlton Miniott, near Thirsk, who died when her a vehicle strayed across the gap and crashed head on into her car. Her family have been steadfast in their efforts to help us secure the improvements which will save lives in the future.
Richmond MP, Rishi Sunak said: “I welcome the imminent completion of the works at Mount Grace Priory which will make visiting this tourist attraction much safer. The programme of improvements Highways England has committed to will make a long-term difference to this road which is a vital regional artery and yet has so many potentially dangerous access points. Due regard will be given to the needs of local residents and farms but what has been achieved at Stony Lane is an example of what can be done to improve safety while maintaining appropriate access.”