I am sorry that I can say nothing about it. I have no information about it. I can only promise my hon. Friend that I will have the matter investigated immediately. It is clearly a part of his criticism about the inadequacy of the fences, and we shall consider it immediately in relation to the other criticisms which I have mentioned.
I come to the situation at Darrington, another village on the Great North Road where dual carriageways have been provided and, unfortunately, disruption has been created for some of the people who inhabit the village. At his suggestion the Department adopted the proposal made by the Darrington Parish Council that a deceleration lane should be cut into the central reservation near the Darrington crossroads. This has been provided for traffic which desires to turn right when approaching Darrington from the north. This action has been taken. Because there is not the bend in the road which occurs in the other direction, and therefore the poorer visibility, we are advised that a deceleration lane is not necessary on the other side. But if traffic conditions change in the area, I will look at this matter. I will keep this situation under observation all the time.
As my hon. Friend said, we have received a renewed request from the parish council for a footbridge at these crossroads. We received it only two weeks ago. I am sorry that I cannot announce a decision tonight, but it may be that the case for this footbridge is now much stronger. It would cost about £20,000 to £30,000 and, as my hon. Friend will appreciate, the new Administration have had only a short time to consider the matter. We are making some observations about pedestrian needs at these crossroads and are entirely sympathetic to the parish council in its approach to the matter. We are considering the evidence the council has provided and if we find that a footbridge is justified and practicable it will be provided as soon as possible.
The first point my hon. Friend raised concerned congestion at Ferrybridge, where more than a mile of new trunk road is now under construction. We regret the congestion which exists there but as my hon. Friend is aware, it is temporary; while the construction is going on. The construction work has necessitated the closing of two local roads and this has thrown additional traffic on to the A1 and another local road, thereby causing congestion where these two roads intersect.
I can inform my hon. Friend that we are going to provide traffic lights at this intersection. They will remain there until the main road is open to traffic, when we will consider whether they are still necessary. If it is clear that the traffic lights are needed they will remain. We hope to have these lights in operation within six weeks and I hope that my hon. Friend will feel that his representations have been to some avail.
I trust that my hon. Friend feels that we are seriously considering all the constructive proposals and representations he, and the local councils have made. I assure him that my right hon. Friend and I will watch this matter carefully and not hesitate to make changes if road safety and the principles of good planning, along with the human considerations he mentioned, call for changes to be made.