January 2018 Briefing Note
The latest progress on proposals to create a new section of dual carriageway to relieve congestion at the A64 Hopgrove bottleneck was outlined to the A64 Growth Partnership by officers from Highways England in October 2017. It was that four detailed options were now being worked up to provide dual carriageway to replace the A64 single carriageway east of Hopgrove junction. This follows the publication by Highways England of a Hopgrove Feasibility Study, which 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’. The Study found 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
Three of the options that are now being taken forward by Highways England 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 the 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 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 prepared as Highways England said that while a dual carriageway upgrade was the priority, without including works to the roundabout a new dual carriageway would provide relief for a maximum of 15 years.
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 the first half of 2018 about which are the best options for upgrading the A64 and the Hopgrove junction. This will be a key stage for the A64 Growth Partnership in terms of seeking a strong and consistent message on behalf of local stakeholders.
The Partnership welcomed the detailed work being undertaken to develop four options for upgrading this key section of the A64 to dual carriageway – although the Partnership believes that it is vital that any upgrade connects through to the next section of dual carriageway instead of stopping short and moving the congestion a little further up the road. Securing a commitment at the 2018 route option consultation to dualling the route through to the next stage of dual carriageway is the immediate aim of the Partnership.
Other investment in the A64 Funding is now determined every five years via a Road Investment Strategy (RIS), which is set by the Secretary of State for Transport. Highways England updated the Partnership about work on the next national road investment strategy, RIS2, covering the period 2020-25. The aim of the A64 Partnership is to see the Hopgrove to Barton le Willows dualling implemented during this period and for detailed plans and the business case worked up for dualling the next section of single carriageway between Crambeck and Malton, with implementation in RIS3 (2025-2030).
Highways England are working with the DfT and other partners to gather evidence and assess value for money for the funding decisions in the RIS2 document, which is due to be published in 2019. A suite of Route Strategies and Strategic studies have collated evidenced and feedback covering the whole of the network and will show where problems are most severe, and where the need for action is greatest. There has been significant input regarding the A64 from the LEP, NYCC and other local partners to these and the Strategic Economic Growth Plan - The Road to Growth. The next stage is publication of the Strategic Road Network Initial Report and a consultation period and this will require a combined response from the A64 Growth Partnership, the LEP, NYCC and related stakeholders.
Highways England officers reinforced that supporting the economy is one of the organisation’s main objectives. However, given the national focus on relieving congestion, which they see as being limited to the Hopgrove area of the A64, and a lower value being placed in their analysis on travel for leisure rather than for business, major investment in the A64 beyond the Hopgrove area will require a strong strategic case to be developed with significant input required from the A64 Partnership. This is compounded by what they see as limited development pressure once beyond the east of York.
There was a clear challenge set for the Partnership to articulate the case for significant upgrading of the A64. The production of this work will be led by NYCC in conjunction with this LEP and the local authorities.
Transport for the North
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 work is outlined under an earlier item on this agenda.
The TfN work includes a central Pennines growth corridor, within which the A64 falls. Officers from NYCC and this LEP continue to work closely with TfN (including participation in the current consultation) to reinforce the importance of A64 upgrading in terms of connecting the east and west coasts and improving links between key economic centres across the North. The A64 east of York is being promoted by LEP and local authority officers as part of a package of improvements across the LEP area that also includes the A1079 from Hull to York, the A1237 York outer ring road, the A59 between York, Harrogate and Skipton.
Further information can be found on the York, North Yorksghire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership website: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/project/the-a64-growth-partnership/