HIGHWAYS bosses are to have a rethink over phase two of the A64 roadworks following renewed calls to save York from another six months of traffic chaos.

A senior Highways Agency officer is to look again at whether an extra lane can be created on the contraflow at Copmanthorpe to ease congestion.

The decision comes as agency contractors try to get a key part of phase one finished by Friday evening.

The agency is hoping to get the eastbound carriageway reopened as far as the junction with Tadcaster Road, so that shoppers heading to York on one of the busiest Saturdays can avoid major jams.

A spokeswoman said contractors were working to a very tight timetable to meet their target, and bad weather could delay completion beyond Saturday.

The single-lane contraflow on the westbound carriageway, caused by the construction of an underpass under the dual carriageway at Copmanthorpe, has led to long delays for motorists and knock-on congestion in York's streets.

The Highways Agency only recently ruled out any extra lanes on the eastbound contraflow when work resumes on the project in the New Year and the westbound carriageway is closed.

The decision to reassess whether an additional lane could be provided in one direction was taken following a meeting yesterday with City of York Council.

The council's head of highway regulation, Bill Woolley, said afterwards that the agency had failed to come up with evidence to support its contention that no more lanes could be provided.

"I still remain to be convinced it is physically impossible to create an extra lane," he said.

He said the agency's area manager, Chris Holehouse, had agreed to look again at the data, and meet him before Christmas to explain the position.

The agency spokeswoman said the creation of an extra lane was a very complex matter.

She said that while it might be physically possible to create an extra lane, this would have to be balanced against problems which might arise.

Updated: 15:32 Tuesday, December 04, 2001