We are inviting people to comment on the proposed preferred realignment route for the A59 at Kex Gill.
The A59 is an important trans-Pennine route between Skipton and Harrogate, but has a history of instability and land movement in the Kex Gill area. This has led to closures over the years and the road is currently closed for repairs after movement was detected at the end of May.
Realigning the route to the other side of the valley is part of the County Council’s strategic transport plan to improve east to west connections between the east coast and Humber ports and Lancashire. In autumn last year, a public consultation drew more than 600 responses, of which more than 90 per cent supported the need to do something to realign the road.
Since then, there have been extensive ground investigations and environmental surveys and discussions are taking place with local householders and landowners to understand day-to-day business and personal transport needs. The County Council is now in a position to publish its proposed preferred alignment.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “The current closure highlights how important it is to realign the A59 at this point. It is vital for local businesses and residents and the county’s wider economic growth. We received a supportive response to our public consultation and are moving ahead as quickly as possible. We want to engage local people throughout the process, keeping them informed and listening to their views, so I hope people will take advantage of this opportunity to examine and comment on the proposals.”
Plans will be on show at a public event on Saturday, 30 June, at Norwood Social Hall, Broad Dubb Road, Norwood, Harrogate, HG3 1TE. Members of the public can drop in at any time between 10am and 3pm. County Council officers and the authority’s consultants, WSP, will be on hand to discuss the proposals and visitors can make written or verbal comments on the plans.
The information will also be available online and people can email comments to LTP@northyorks.gov.uk. Anyone unable to access the internet can call 01609 780780 or write to Transport Planning Team, Business and Environmental Services, North Yorkshire County Council, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AD.
County Councillor Stanley Lumley, local member and a member of the Kex Gill steering group, said: “This route is very important for business and tourism and vital to our economy. We know the impact the current closure is having. As we move forward with realigning the road, we want to be sure we have the best solution, so I hope people will attend the public event if they can or visit our website and share their comments on the proposals.”
The closing date for comments is 12 July 2018. Comments will be reported to the County Council’s Executive, which will be asked to decide on the adoption of the preferred route at its meeting on 24 July. The County Council is in discussion with the Department for Transport and, subject to the Executive’s decision, a full business case for funding will be produced, with the start of construction anticipated in the financial year 2019/20. It is estimated the road could take 14 months to complete.
Regarding the current closure, a permanent repair is being designed and in the meantime certain elements of the repair work that will be needed regardless of the final repair solution are under way. An interim benefit of this work could be to facilitate the opening of the A59 to single-line traffic under traffic light control. Businesses and the community will be kept informed of progress and once it is known exactly what the permanent repairs will entail and how long they will take, discussions will be held with local businesses and the community to consider the best time to make these repairs. The road is likely to need to close fully to carry out the permanent repairs.