YORK traders were today delighted after a crucial stage of the A64 roadworks was completed in time for the main pre-Christmas rush.

A stretch of the reconstructed eastbound carriageway, between Askham Bryan and Tadcaster Road, re-opened yesterday afternoon, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

This should mean that West Yorkshire shoppers heading to York can get into the city via Tadcaster Road without first getting stuck in jams on the eastbound carriageway.

Adam Sinclair, Chairman of the York Chamber of Trade, said: "This is excellent news. It reflects the hard work and vigilance on the part of City of York Council and the Evening Press.

"We can now look forward to what is expected to be the busiest Saturday of the year." Sally Kerr, chairwoman of the Retail Committee for the Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is fantastic news. People have really pulled together to achieve this, and it will help very much during the last three weeks before Christmas.

"We would like to thank customers for sticking by York despite the problems and showing a really positive sense of humour throughout."

The Highways Agency's decision to speed up the work, which involves building an underpass at Copmanthorpe, followed pressure from the council and the Evening Press Get York Moving campaign.

Updated: 11:20 Saturday, December 08, 2001