A public consultation is to be launched in September on proposals to realign the A59 at Kex Gill.
The A59 is an important trans-Pennine route between Skipton and Harrogate, but has a long history of instability and movement of the land above the road to the west of Blubberhouses at Kex Gill.
There have been numerous landslips over the years, the most recent in January 2016 leading to the closure of the road for eight weeks.
In the past, the County Council has undertaken work to strengthen the banks and improve drainage and the authority monitors movement on the slope, but there remains a high risk of further landslips that could lead to long-term closures. In the event of a landslip, drivers are routed round a diversion of more than six miles through towns unsuitable for the volume of traffic and nature of vehicles.
Realigning the A59 at Kex Gill to the other side of the valley is part of the County Council’s strategic transport plan to improve easy to west connections between the east coast and Humber ports and Lancashire.
The Council commissioned an assessment of the options for realigning the road. Initially, 16 possible routes were identified. Of these, 12 were discounted because of engineering or environmental constraints, continued risks of landslip, and cost. The remaining four have been identified as the most achievable. The cost of construction is estimated at between £33m and £40m and the County Council is preparing a funding bid to the Department for Transport.
At their meeting on Friday, 25 August, Executive Members for Business and Environmental Services approved a public consultation on these routes.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “The A59 provides a vital link between the east and west of the region through North Yorkshire. Its reliability is crucial for the economic growth of our county as well as the convenience and safety of commuters, visitors and residents.
“The consultation will help us to determine the route that most improves the resilience of the A59, along with improved safety and increased reliability of journey times for road users while maintaining the landscape, ecological and historical value of the surrounding area.
“The consultation will be wide-ranging with public events to allow people to view the proposals as well as opportunities to give their responses online and on paper. Details will be announced shortly and we would urge everyone with an interest in the route to take part.”
The consultation is due to start on Monday 11 September. Public consultation meetings have been arranged as follows:
- Skipton Town Hall, Concert Hall, Thursday 21 September, 10am-2pm and 3pm-8pm
- St Peters Church Hall, Harrogate, Friday 22 September, 10am-2pm and 3pm-8pm
- Norwood Social Hall, Washburn, Saturday 23 September, 9.30am-3pm