CAMPAIGNERS have spoken of their anger after it was announced that work to improve an accident blackspot had been put back to next spring due to ‘design issues’.
The Highways Agency was due to begin improvements to the Barton Hill crossroads on the A64 in the next few weeks, to be completed by March.
Campaigning to improve the junction has been ongoing for many years, supported by North Yorkshire coroner Michael Oakley, following numerous serious accidents at the junction.
Plans had been put forward to close the exit off the A64 at the bottom of the hill, known as Barton Bridge, with traffic using another exit a few hundred yards further along.
But North Yorkshire County Council’s Ryedale area committee has been told design issues need to be resolved and the safety improvements have been delayed while revised proposals are developed.
Highways Agency assent manager Mandy Foster said the work has been put back until the next financial year as they were looking at buying more land to allow HGVs to turn.
Coun Clare Wood, a key campaigner, said she had been told they were not going ahead because the Highways Agency was ‘encountering technical deliverability issues’.
“This is a case of the cart going before the horse. Apparently they haven’t engineered to make a turn for HGVs and now need to buy more land,” she said.
“Surely this design should have been done before the work was approved.”
Coun Wood said there were serious safety issues on the road with the junction the fourth highest blackspot in the whole of North Yorkshire.
“I feel absolutely furious and incredibly upset and disappointed. I have been misled, the county council have been misled and the public has been misled,” she said.
“People are been killed and seriously injured. There is a serious and urgent problem.”
Coun Wood said statutory notices had already been placed with the legal process underway.
“Interim measures are being proposed but is this work going to go ahead,” she added.
“This is not just important for Ryedale but the whole county. Safety should not have a price on it.”
Coun Mike Knaggs said a considerable amount of money had been spent on the Brambling Fields junction and Hopgrove roundabout.
“Once again we are not getting anything done at Barton Hill, yet these areas have not seen one fatality compared to that junction,” he said.
A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “The Highways Agency is acutely aware of safety concerns relating to the Barton Hill crossroads on the A64, and is working to develop and deliver improvements at the junction to address these concerns.
“The exact nature of this work is still being finalised and is subject to the completion of the necessary statutory processes and on appropriate funding being made available.
“This work is currently being progressed and further information will be provided in due course.”