ONE of York’s most congested roundabouts is set for a £9.4 million upgrade.

The Highways Agency has agreed to plough the cash into building extra lanes and installing traffic lights at the Hopgrove roundabout, which is used by thousands of cars every day as they make their way along the A64.

Work on the scheme is expected to start in January and be completed by next September, ending several years of waiting for funding which has been seen as crucial to easing the flow of traffic into York – and also boosting business at the Monks Cross Business Park.

The success of the bid for funding is another boost for transport infrastructure in the York area – which has been backed by The Press’ Access York campaign – following the announcement of £25 million for three new Park & Ride schemes across the city and £4m on improved facilities for cyclists.

City of York Council’s transport chief Steve Galloway, who represented the Leeds City Region – of which the council is part – at yesterday’s meeting which saw the announcement of the funding, was in jubilant mood as he told The Press: “It’s brilliant news.

“I’m delighted this major investment will be made. The roundabouts have been a bottleneck for many years and have caused delays for both local residents and visitors. The additional highway lanes and traffic signals should make the junction much safer.

“Critically, the lack of network capacity has hindered economic development in the city and the prospects of technology-based companies coming to the Monks Cross area have been jeopardised. I would anticipate the announcement would help to lift that logjam.”

But Coun Galloway sounded a word of warning by saying: “This will not mean York will never see any more congestion”.

But he added: “This will mean people will see a real difference over the next few years in their ability to get round the city in whatever form of transport they use.

“This should help to ease congestion problems in this area of the city and will also be good for businesses.”

He also expressed gratitude to The Press for the role the paper has played in aiming to improve transport infrastructure in the city. He said: “I’d like to thank The Press for its Access York campaign – I’ve no doubt it played a part in the thinking of those who made the decisions on this particular scheme.”

The total cost of the Hopgrove roundabout scheme will be £9.38 million, of which £8.8 million will be funded by the Government. City of York Council will put a maximum of £500,000 into the project.