IT HAS taken more than 30 years of lobbying - but work is finally to start to improve safety on one of South Yorkshire’s most dangerous stretches of road.
A £14.7 million project to turn the A57 near Todwick crossroads into a dual carriageway is to start by the end of the summer.
Countless people have been killed and injured in crashes on the notorious stretch between the B6463 crossroads and Junction 31 of the M1, near Dinnington
The safety plan was thrown into doubt when the coalition government announced transport cutbacks two years ago - but yesterday transport minister Norman Baker said funding for the project had been approved.
Mr Baker said: “As well as reducing congestion on the road, this work will improve road safety. It’s a win-win for the Dinnington area.”
The Government will put £11.8m into the scheme, with Rotherham Council contributing the remaining £2.9m.
Work is expected to be completed by December 2013.
Kevin Barron, Rother Valley MP, said: “We have been pushing for this work for more than 30 years. It was a road safety issue back in the 1980s, when traffic flow was much smaller than it is now.
“The number of lives that have been lost on the Todwick bend is outrageous - because the problem has been known about for so long.
“I am delighted action is finally being taken.”
The work includes a new one-mile, two-lane dual carriageway, improved pedestrian facilities, bus stops and junction improvements.
Coun Gerald Smith, Rotherham Council cabinet member for regeneration and development, said: “It has been a long and frustrating process at times, but we have now cleared the final hurdle and work should be able to start in the late summer.”
Andrew Denniff, executive director at Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is an excellent scheme that should give a real boost to the area, creating much better access to the business parks at Dinnington and Kiveton Park.”