DEMANDS for road improvements have been renewed after a driver died in a crash involving three lorries on one of the region’s busiest routes.

Road chaos spread throughout North Yorkshire yesterday, following the accident in the early hours.

The accident on the A1 just south of Catterick involved two lorries carrying gas canisters, paint and batteries, and a third carrying a combine harvester parked in a layby.

The accident left a 38-yearold man from the Stockton area dead and another driver from North Lincolnshire seriously injured.

Vehicles were diverted through Northallerton , between Leeming Bar and Scotch Corner.

Only hours later, six cars were in collision on the main diversionary route from the A1. The accident, at 8.10am completely blocked the alternative route, the B6271 at Great Langton while emergency services dealt with the crash, which left two people injured.

A 19-year-old man from Richmond was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving in connection with this collision.

Road chaos continued throughout the day as traffic was diverted through North Yorkshire villages.

The northbound carriageway of the A1 remained closed until yesterday evening so the road could be resurfaced and the area decontaminated.

The accident happened just months after the head of the Highways Agency, Graham Dalton, said he wanted to see that particular stretch of dual carriageway road turned into motorway. Plans for a £340m upgrade for the A1 between Leeming and Barton were shelved in 2010 following a Government spending review.

The 13 miles of road near Leeming have just been developed into a motorway.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd said yesterday’s crash brought home the safety concerns about the busy section of dual carriageway.

In 2007, four members of the same family died when their car was involved in a collision with a van at the Kirkby Fleetham junction.

The van driver was jailed for dangerous driving.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Carl Les said: “It’s vital that the North-East and rest of the county are joined up to the rest of the country by motorway.”

There are also concerns about the diversion routes following accidents.

Richmondshire Councillor Michael Heseltine said: “These roads were never in any sense meant to take the amount and type of traffic that is suddenly thrust upon them when the A1 is closed.

“When the traffic travels through these villages, they are going a few inches from people’s front doors.”

􀁧 Anyone with information about the collision is asked to call police on 101.