THE Evening Press campaign to tame North Yorkshire's worst accident blackspot was finally won today - at a massively increased cost.

Roads Minister David Jamieson gave the go-ahead for a new flyover at Bilbrough Top on the A64 between York and Tadcaster, allowing a gap in the central reservation to be closed in January.

But he revealed that the total bill for the project had soared to a staggering £11 million, compared with the original estimate of £4.5 million.

He said in an exclusive interview that it had been necessary for him to scrutinise the project very carefully to ensure it represented value for money.

He was confident that it did, and that a good scheme would now go ahead of benefit to motorists and local residents.

Three people have died, and there have been 35 serious accidents, at Bilbrough Top between July 1998 and May this year.

Today's decision comes less than a fortnight after Colin and Chris Sanders of Northallerton made a personal plea to the Minister to approve the flyover.

They told him how their 16-year-old son Jamie died after trying to get across the dual carriageway in 2001.

Supported by Selby MP John Grogan, they presented letters from Evening Press readers and emergency services, backing closure of the gap.

Mr Jamieson said hearing the Sanders' tragic story had given him the human dimension to the issue, and he also praised Mr Grogan's "calm and measured" pursuit of the Bilbrough Top issue.

Colin and Chris Sanders were today delighted by the news. "We are chuffed to bits," said Mr Sanders.

"I am glad we could help and could make a difference, and that something positive has come out of Jamie's death.

"Hopefully it's now going to be a safer place, not only for motorists but also pedestrians."

Selby MP John Grogan said: "Both residents of North Yorkshire and motorists from far and wide will be delighted that Bilbrough Top has got the final go-ahead.

"I think the meeting was crucial in getting the final green light for the project.

"The Evening Press campaign, which has been maintained over several years, is now clearly paying results."

Updated: 11:12 Wednesday, October 29, 2003