A19 road closure from Chapel Haddlesey Bridge to the junction with Wand Lane.

This section of the A19 is built on a causeway, a road on top of a man made embankment through which run small bridges or culverts to allow water to pass back and forth. 

The A19 has regular condition and safety inspections, which found the road to be structurally sound and in good condition prior to collapse. However, following significant rainfall resulting in high water levels over a long period, accompanied by high winds that led to almost tidal type erosion, the road suffered catastrophic damage and it was necessary to close it for safety.

Diversion route

The A19 is a principal road and as with any road closure the signed diversion must follow a road of the same category or higher on the highway network hierarchy. The A19 is classed as Cat 3, as are the two signed diversion routes, whilst the third diversion for HGV’s also uses the M62 a trunk road which is a higher category.

There are other local routes available; but these are not advertised or signed because they have not been constructed to carry the same weight or volume of traffic.

Additional signage to deter motorists from using roads through the villages has been put. It is usually those with local knowledge that choose to use these roads as a short cut to avoid the signed diversion.

North Yorkshire Police are monitoring certain locations for speeding vehicles and there has been an increase in their presence on the roads between West Haddlesey and Birkin following concerns received by residents. If you have concerns about speeding on the diversion route report this to North Yorkshire Police.

Planning and design 

We understand this road closure is inconvenient to the many communities who are adversely affected and that the delay in reconstruction starting is frustrating. Normally the planning, design, procurement and mobilisation for a project of this size is carried out over a year prior to commencement whilst the road is still open to traffic. Unfortunately, in this case the road had to be closed as it was dangerous but the same work needed to be carried out. We have been doing our utmost to get this road repaired so it can be opened to the public as soon as possible.

The most significant issue was that the scale of the damage was unknown. The damage on the surface was visible and quantifiable, however it was clear that there was substantial damage at a significant depth below the surface of the road so we could not be certain of the entire area of that damage. 

Covid-19 delayed the progress further, with national lockdown meaning companies were unable to provide crucial services.

Key dates

The timescale of the work carried out is below:

  • 18 February 2020 the A19 was closed between Chapel Haddlesey and Eggborough, due to collapse following erosion resulting from Storm Dennis.
  • 10th March water levels dropped enough to allow a full visual inspection, this established significant erosion of the embankment and triggered various excavations in the road to try to establish internal damage. This concluded the scale and nature was both large and complex. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveyors were instructed but Covid-19 brought progress to a halt.
  • Mid May designers were considering solutions, ruling out options up to this point and we were negotiating with contractors, looking at procurement options to speed up getting a contractor on site, but the design team did not received results of the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) until the 13 May. The results confirmed there were significant voids particularly around the five bridges and culverts. The Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), like X-rays, cannot tell everything and does not guarantee that all voids are found and that continues to be a risk.
  • End of May we short cut the contractor procurement process using a national framework and Balfour Beatty were appointed. Balfour Beatty worked closely with the designers using the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) information, excavation information and the visual inspections of the embankment to conclude what the most logical and deliverable solutions were.
  • June survey and design work identified major BT and Gas services near the road and embankment. Discussions with those companies concluded major diversions were required to allow the works to progress. Gas leaks were found that were repaired in June.
  • July Northern Gas Networks commenced diversion work of the major gas service.
  • August design work for the 5 bridge repairs was completed and approved, permits were approved for the proposed repairs with the Internal Drainage Board and the Environment Agency. BT carried out their service work.
  • September Gas diversion work was completed at the end of September ready for Balfour Beatty to commence the main repair work.
  • October Week commencing 5 October planning of the road surface commenced.


In May our consultants initial assessment was that the construction period, given what was known at that time, was between 6 to 8 months. When appointed at the end of May the contractor Balfour Beatty programmed a start date of the 3rd August and a completion date of 21 May 2021, this would be 9 months construction taking in the Christmas period.

Because the gas service diversion was necessary the start date has been delayed by two months which would have logically put the contractors programme back to the 21 July. The contractor has reviewed the programme and although an initial completion date of the 8 July was tabled, the contractor by further reviewing the programme confirmed a completion date of 25 June 2021. The programme and end date try to take into account the risk of a number of unknowns, hence we remain optimistic that the actual completion date and the date that the road will open to traffic will be earlier.

The reconstruction design addresses the risk of future flood damage to the road as the new embankment will be protected by a ‘rock wall’ against flood erosion. In the unfortunate situation, we experience a further flood event during the construction period; the working method the contractor has adopted will mean the newly constructed sections will be self-protecting. This will ensure we will have minimal abortive work. It is of course inevitable that if we have a major flood during the work the period of construction is likely to be delayed.

We are sorry for the inconvenience and disruption the closure of the A19 is causing but both ourselves and our contractors are fully committed to getting the road reopened as soon as possible.

Progress updates

  • Bulk muck shift from the topsoil heap on site.
  • Continued pushing road box with an import of 1100 Tonne of Type 3 Sub-base up to Chainage 360.0
  • Import clay fill material to enable start of French Drain on the East side (250 tonne)
  • Start excavation and laying of the French Drain with a length of 80 linear metre installed and backfilled.
  • Commence excavation of benches from Chainage 420 to 520 on the west side with topsoil strip working in advance with another gang to speed production outputs.
  • Structure 1018 has had 6B1 material placed and shaped around the culvert returns.
  • 800 + tonnes of 6B has been imported and stockpiled.
  • Road box excavation continued up to Chainage 360.
  • 450 tonnes of subsoils excavated and removed from site.
  • 600 tonnes of 6C Starter layer spread, levelled and compacted.
  • 200 tonnes of Type 3 sub-base imported which will complete formation up to Chainage 225.
  • 600 tonnes of topsoil stripped on the south east side from chainage 840 to 960 and continues.
  • Excavation works on the road box cut, pushing towards Chainage 320, close to the second structure.
  • 200 Tonne of Type 6C1 and Type 3 sub-base materials are being imported via the north entrance, subsoils exiting to tip via the south to increase productivity of labour and plant on site.
  • Continue excavation of the road box gaining a further 45m in length.
  • Importation of 266 Tonne of 6C starter layer, 178 Tonne of Type 3 subbase material and removal of a further 670 Tonne of spoil off-site.

Digger working on the new A19

Adding the soil

Adding the protective layer

Sub-base layer added

Stones and road cover


  • Road box cut up to CH190 by the first structure with 2480 Tonne of 6C starter layer placed and compacted including 500 Tonne of material carted off-site.
  • Type 3 spread, levelled and compacted with 1700 Tonne imported meaning the first 200m is almost ready for final trim and base layer of Tarmac to be programmed in.
  • Topsoil and reinstate at CH170 – 210 to the West of Structure 1019.
  • Road box cut up to CH190 by the first structure with 970 Tonne of 6C starter layer placed and compacted.
  • Commence bulk dig of road box from CH0 heading South.
  • West embankment benches remain cut up to CH 265 including 6B.
  • Structure 1019 West tie-ins 80% complete including 6B.
  • Structure 1019 East tie-ins 80% complete.
  • East Embankment benches cut to CH200, missing the structure and then continue from CH230 to 465.
  • 6B1 stockpile depleted on-site and material used to final trim batter on east side from CH0 to CH100.
  • 6B1 production off site circa 28,000 + tonnes blasted and being processed continually to meet site demand.

A19 work progress

Digger working on the A19

New bridge on the A19

Road covering

  • West Embankment rocks placed up to CH185.
  • East Embankment benches cut.
  • East Embankment rocks placed up to CH460.
  • Root balls moved off site, some remain for future removal (ongoing).
  • Rocks import continued circa 8000 tonnes.
  • Rocks production off site circa 28,000+ tonnes blasted and being processed continually to meet site demand.
  • Topsoil relocated on-site for future use in the works.
  • Additional Silt Control Measures put in to place to prevent polluting adjacent watercourses.
  • Commence earthworks a structure tie-ins.

"Stone added to the embankment"

"Digging the embankemnt"

"Stones on both embankments"

Material imported and stockpiled.

close up photo of rock Stockpile of rock

Cutting benches on west batter.

Digger cutting benches on west batter Cutting benches on west batter

Cutting benches, laying geotextile and placing rock on west batter.

laying geotextile west batter Placing rock on west batter

Adding rocks Rock added

Cutting benches laying geotextile ready for placing rock on east batter.

Cutting benches on east batter Placing rock on east batter

Excavate soft spots and place and compact rock.

Excavate soft spots place and compact rock

Following two months of strategic gas and fiber optic utility diversions road planing tar bound material commenced. The tar bound surfacing will be recycled locally into subbase.

Road planing on the A19Road after planing on the A19

General site clearance took place in preparation for work to commence.

Site clearance on the A19