Work is progressing on the permanent repairs to the A59 at Kex Gill and the road is expected to be fully reopened before Christmas.
A week-long closure for resurfacing and drainage work that was scheduled to take place early in December will now happen next year. The repairs have involved drilling down into the rock below the highway to enable the retaining wall to be firmly fixed in place. The discovery of voids in the area behind the wall has caused delays, leading to the decision to reschedule the work requiring a closure.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “We have taken this decision because we assured local business owners that there would be no road closure close to Christmas. Therefore, on conclusion of the repair work only patching of the road will take place. The full resurfacing and drainage work will now be carried out next spring under a short closure. We expect the current temporary traffic controls to be removed before Christmas and for the road to be fully open ahead of the holidays.”
The A59 is an important trans-Pennine route between Skipton and Harrogate, but there is a history of instability in land around the road west of Blubberhouses at Kex Gill. The road closed at Kex Gill in late spring after movement in the carriageway. It reopened to single-file traffic under traffic light control in July after an initial phase of repairs. Permanent repairs began in October under temporary traffic lights.
County Councillor Stanley Lumley, Member for Pateley Bridge division and a member of the Kex Gill steering group, said: “I think it is a sensible and most welcome decision to delay the road closure at this important time of year for businesses and the local economy. The A59 is not only an important trans-Pennine route but it is extremely important to residents for their daily commutes and day-to-day travel requirements and this decision will not interrupt the increased demand over the holiday period.”
The County Council’s ultimate solution is to realign this section of the A59 to the other side of the valley. A preferred route for this realignment was agreed by the County Council in July. A full business case for funding is being prepared for submission to the Department for Transport. It is anticipated construction could start in the financial year 2019/20 and the road could take 14 months to complete.