WORK on a £1.1m package of safety measures to the Great North Road will get underway this month.

The package has been designed to tackle the risk of collisions on the A1 in North Yorkshire ahead of the major £314m scheme to upgrade the route to motorway status between Leeming and Barton.

More than 50,000 vehicles use the stretch every day and the idea is that road users will see the benefits of the safety measures as soon as possible.

The measures will include reducing the risk of side-on and shunt-style collisions by closing gaps in the central reservation and improving safety where side roads and private accesses join the A1.

Highways Agency regional director Vanessa Gilbert said: “Work to upgrade the A1 from Leeming to Barton to motorway standard will begin within a couple of years, but we can deliver important safety benefits within the next three months with this programme of smaller scale improvements.”

She added: “Closing the gaps will bring significant road safety benefits along this stretch of the A1 where almost half of personal injury accidents over the last five years have been directly associated with manoeuvres at these minor junctions, private accesses or central reservation gaps.

"It will remove the general hazard of U-turn and right-turn manoeuvres and prevent long vehicles, such as articulated lorries, from creeping out across the carriageway to make a right turn, which is especially hazardous.”

Other measures include removing potentially hazardous roadside trees and overgrowth, and providing new roadside safety barriers.