Solutions Being Assessed to Relieve A64 Hopgrove Bottleneck
The latest progress on proposals to create a new section of dual carriageway to relieve congestion at the notorious A64 Hopgrove bottleneck has been outlined to the A64 Growth Partnership – an alliance of local businesses, MPs, local authorities, trade organisations and the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, which is pressing government for major long-term investment in the A64 between York and the Yorkshire coast.
Transport specialists from Highways England, which operates, maintains and improves England’s motorways and major A roads, explained to local leaders that four detailed options were now being worked up to provide dual carriageway to replace the A64 single carriageway east of Hopgrove junction – one of the most notorious ‘pinch-points’ in Yorkshire’s main road network (see attached map). This comes after Highways England recently concluded that to improve the Hopgrove junction without addressing the adjacent single carriageway would ‘fail to address the aims to improve congestion, safety and resilience on this corridor’. Crucially, Highways England decided that:
- ‘The root cause of the issues at the location is not related to the performance of the Hopgrove junction.
- The single carriageway section of the A64 immediately to the east of the junction is significantly stressed which is exacerbated further during holiday periods and summer weekends, with significant journey time variability.
- The performance of this single carriageway section causes congestion and delay at the Hopgrove junction during these periods.’
‘This Partnership welcomes the detailed work being undertaken by Highways England to develop six options – two to improve the Hopgrove roundabout itself and four that include upgrading the adjacent single carriageway section of the A64 to dual carriageway. However, it is vital that we achieve dualling east from Hopgrove through to the next section of dual carriageway at Barton le Willows, instead of stopping short and moving the congestion a little further up the road’ said Barry Dodd, Chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership. ‘Improving the connectivity of the transport network east-west across our area is vital for our growth, and nationally, we must work with everyone to make our united voices heard and make this investment happen.’
Three of the four options being assessed for the road to the east of Hopgrove junction would upgrade the A64 to dual carriageway for all of the 9.5 km between Hopgrove junction and the next section of dual carriageway at Barton-le-Willows. Highways England say that these three options ‘all address the main source of congestion on the route (i.e. the single carriageway section of the A64), and would therefore address the scheme objectives and support wider regional and local policy. The options generate significant journey time savings but have potential for slightly adverse impacts on noise and air quality, and moderate to large adverse impacts on historic, environment and water environment considerations’.
Two of these dualling options follow the route of the current A64 for 1.8 km from Hopgrove and then take a new alignment before re-joining the current A64 near the Jinnah Restaurant. One option for dualling follows the current route as far as possible to reduce costs and environmental impact. A final option for the A64 east of Hopgrove would only provide dual carriageway as far as a new roundabout at Towthorpe Moor Lane. Although it is acknowledged that this option ‘does not fully address the main source of congestion on the route or the scheme objectives’ it is being looked at further because of its financial and environmental benefits.
In addition, two options for improving the Hopgrove junction are also being assessed as Highways England said that while a dual carriageway upgrade was being considered, without including works to the roundabout a new dual carriageway alone is unlikely to provide the benefits required.
Highways England experts are now looking in detail at the potential environmental impacts of each of the upgrading options and will assess the costs and benefits of each approach. A bespoke traffic model, taking account of leisure traffic and vehicles who use alternative local roads due to congestion on the A64, has been developed to understand the impacts of the different approaches. Consultation will then take place with the public in mid 2018 on the options for upgrading the A64 and the Hopgrove junction.
Graham Bramham of Kingspan Limited, a global building envelope systems and solutions company with a major manufacturing facility at Sherburn, near Malton, said “The A64 bottleneck and the York junction seriously impact on our business, withan additional delay of up to an hour on our transport times during the frequent congestion.”
The A64 Growth Partnership also heard from Transport for the North about their work on a transport strategy for the north to support economic growth and development in the region. This included a central Pennines growth corridor, within which the A64 falls.