VILLAGERS fear an upsurge in rat-running along narrow country roads, once work starts on building the new A64 flyover at Bilbrough Top.

Residents of Colton are calling for measures to ease the dangers caused by traffic passing at speed through their community. Work on building the flyover, halfway between York and Tadcaster, is due to start in January and last for 15 months.

The dangerous gap in the central reservation will be closed as soon as work starts.

Colton residents fear many drivers will take a short cut through their village to get to York along Colton Lane and through Copmanthorpe.

Richard Wilkinson said: "Once the gaps have been closed, all traffic using the facilities wanting to return east will undoubtedly use the back roads.

"The speed and sheer lack of any consideration towards the farm traffic and villagers coming and going is a constant source of danger and annoyance. This approval now increases the urgency for traffic calming measures and clear signing to be made available, for the long-term benefit of traffic safety through the villages."

He stressed that he welcomed the approval of the flyover, after witnessing many near misses and recently being involved in a minor accident there himself.

Julie Carter said she was concerned about traffic in the village, particularly the speed at which some people drove, and she believed some measures should be considered.

Brian Watson, area engineer with North Yorkshire County Council highways authority, said he was aware of such concerns, and talks had already been held with the Highways Agency.

He said further discussions would take place before the flyover project started. If any measures were needed because of knock-on problems caused by the project, he would expect the agency to finance them.

Updated: 10:00 Saturday, November 01, 2003