QUEUE-BUSTING plans to ease bottleneck blues at a key junction on York's busy outer ring road were unveiled today.

A £500,000 scheme to add a new left lane linking Strensall Road North to the A1237, alongside minor changes to existing approaches and exits, has been recommended by highways officials.

But they have not backed three more ambitious proposals for the junction, including a £500,000 subway under the road.

Officers also said more safety studies were needed before a £50,000 pedestrian crossing was built.

They say that merely increasing the size of the roundabout and surrounding roads would not solve all gridlock problems.

A new council report says that increasing the existing 20 metre diameter roundabout to 30 metres, 45 metres or 55 metres, costing £830,000, £1.6 million or £1.75 million respectively, would help ring road traffic flow more freely.

But studies showed that queues would increase in peak times for vehicles trying to get across the A1237 from Huntington to Earswick and would not help cut bus journey times.

The report said the Strensall roundabout did not suffer the severity of jams experienced at the A59, Hopgrove or Haxby Road junctions.

However, transport executive member, Coun Ann Reid, said upgrades at these hotspots would be considered as part of a widespread ring road review in the next Local Transport Plan.

Coun Reid said short-term improvements at the Strensall roundabout would qualify for funding now. She said the area would be looked at again as part of the wider review that would examine the possibility of dualling.

She said: "It's better to spend this money than to let it slip."

The report states the roundabout was operating "above capacity" in peak hours with long queues experienced by motorists, particularly in Strensall Road.

Graeme Stanton, the consultant leading the safety study, said cyclists and pedestrians also experienced problems because the ring road splits Earswick and Huntington. The report also said there were inadequate crossing points near the roundabout, at a junction used to access Huntington School.

Mr Stanton said that, although there was no history of pedestrian or cyclist injuries at the junction, a new crossing point would help prevent future accidents.

Option one, recommended in the report and leaving the roundabout the same size, would cut southbound times by more than 40 seconds and ring road journey times by more than 100 seconds in the evening rush hour. But reductions in northbound times in Strensall Road would be "minimal".

The report on proposed improvements to the junction will be discussed by members of City of York Council's transport executive advisory panel on May 4.

Updated: 10:05 Wednesday, April 27, 2005