THREE remaining gaps on the A64 between York and Tadcaster are being shut - marking a final victory for the Evening Press Close The Gaps campaign.

The Highways Agency has published orders for the temporary closure of the gaps in the dual carriageway's central reservation, which have stayed open until now.

They are at:

* The junction with Slice Lane, near Oxton, Tadcaster.

* The entrance to Bowbridge Farm.

* The entrance to Steeton House.

The decision was welcomed today by motorist Roger Ingham, from near Tadcaster, who almost died at the Steeton House gap when a trailer made a U-turn through it, blocking his path.

He managed to slam on his brakes and skidded off the dual carriageway and on to the cycle track alongside, unharmed, but very shaken, having come within inches of being decapitated.

"It's damned good news," he said. "It's not before time. It has taken a long time to do this."

He said drivers' safety should be the number one priority, and had to be more important than the convenience of people wanting to go through the gap.

An agency spokeswoman said cones would be used to shut the gaps within weeks, once diversionary signs had been prepared.

These would send drivers who wanted to cross to the other side of the dual carriageway to the nearest appropriate flyover.

She said the closures meant there would be no gaps left on the dual carriageway between the Askham Bryan flyover and the Tadcaster flyover - which is what the Press has been campaigning for since a series of accidents in the mid to late 1990s.

The order also keeps shut another four gaps which were originally temporarily closed a couple of years ago when work started on construction of a new flyover at Bilbrough Top.

The agency wanted at first to re-open those gaps following the opening of the flyover, but a Government Minister then revealed during the opening ceremony in June that they would stay shut.

The spokeswoman said today that orders for the permanent closure of the seven gaps would be published, hopefully this autumn.

Updated: 08:55 Thursday, August 04, 2005