HOPES of dualling the A64 and York’s outer ring road will be boosted by a new strategic transport plan for the North, a public meeting was told.

Transport for the North’s 30-year plan will give momentum to the campaign to upgrade the two routes by emphasising the benefits to the wider economy, said interim strategy director Jonathan Spruce.

He said the traditional system of assessment for road improvements was inherently biased in favour of roads in the south because of the greater volumes of traffic there than, for example, on the A64 between York and Scarborough, where high flows were seasonal.

He said the strategic plan could provide a counter argument about the importance to the economy of such upgrades. “We hope that by putting it in this wider economic context it gives more momentum behind these schemes,” he said.

“What we are saying is that that connection (the A64) and the A1237 (York outer ring road) is all part of the North’s economically important road network and you need to see it in the context of that long-term plan.

“How can investors go to Scarborough not knowing whether there is investment in the road and rail connections. This is a long term plan to keep that investment confidence.”

He also said that key routes in the York area, such as the outer ring road, A19, A59 and the A1079 down to the Humber ports should have access to the same sources of funding as the A64, as they were equally important parts of the road network.

Mr Spruce was speaking at a consultation event held on Monday, February 12, at the National Railway Museum in York about its plan, which was unveiled last month and outlines how transport connections across the North need to be transformed by 2050 to drive growth and close the economic gap between the region and the rest of England.

Another key proposal, as reported by The Press last month, is a major upgrade of the rail network which would mean big cuts in rail journey times from York to other northern cities such as Manchester.

The Press’s Dual Them! campaign, calling for both the A64 and outer ring road to be turned into dual carriageways, was boosted in December when Highways England accepted the need for A64 dualling east of York and said four detailed options were being examined, while a £300,000 study is to examine the economic benefits from dualling the ring road.

Transport for the North is a partnership of civic and business leaders from across the region, whose plans must be formally considered by the Government when decisions about transport investment in the North are made. A final version of the plan will be published later in the year.