Long-awaited improvements to a main town junction which have been heralded as a “major step forward” in the battle against congestion are due to start next week.

The traffic lights at Malton’s Butcher Corner are to be upgraded to a new, more efficient system, with a right-turn filter arrow finally added to the Castlegate arm after years of calls for it to happen.

The junction will also benefit from new traffic lights, a full resurfacing and improvements to the pedestrian crossings.

Cllr Keane Duncan, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “The Butcher Corner upgrade is the first step in delivering our plan to tackle traffic congestion in Malton and Norton.

“The new traffic lights will adjust the sequence in real-time based on the number of approaching vehicles, reducing waiting times, cutting queues and helping the environment.”

Cllr Keane added: “Residents will be particularly pleased to finally see we’re delivering the right turn arrow from Castlegate. This will allow traffic from Norton to turn more easily into Old Maltongate, something that is very difficult to do at present.

“There will be some short term overnight disruption, but there will be significant benefits in the longer term for people in Malton and Norton.”

The scheme is part of a series of proposed measures to help reduce traffic congestion in Malton and Norton.

In addition to the improvements at Butcher Corner, NYCC is planning make Norton Road one-way for a trial period to monitor the effect of traffic else where and to enable the public to give their views.

Ryedale District Councillor Di Keal said: “Whilst welcoming these long awaited changes at Butcher Corner in Malton, which will hopefully have some positive impact on traffic flow in the town and in Norton, so much more is required.

“Work on the Norton Level crossing/County Bridge/Commercial Street junction has also been planned as part of the Infrastructure Plan for years and we have heard nothing about when the county council plans to deliver this part of the project, which is crucial to try to alleviate the congestion we see on a daily basis in the towns.”

Cllr Keal added: “Ultimately we need to take more traffic out of Malton and Norton with much bigger projects such as the proposed link road between Beverley Road and Scarborough Road linking heavy goods vehicles direct onto the A64, if we are to reduce pollution levels and also make our towns safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Highways teams will begin the overnight work on Monday, June 27. It will be carried out under phased partial road closures between 7.30pm and 5am for seven weeks with traffic lights in operation.

For more details of the works visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/roadworks-map