Cycleway and junction works tackle congestion and support growth

This story was published 8 September 2021

Construction of a cycleway and junction improvements to enhance safety and alleviate congestion along Otley Road, Harrogate, are scheduled to begin on Monday, 20 September.


The scheme on the B6162 between College Street and Arthurs Avenue will see construction of an off-road cycle route, which will link into the developing cycle network, and an additional lane at the Otley Road/Harlow Moor Road junction.

The cycle route will utilise the wide footpath and verges of Otley Road. It will take cyclists on both sides of the road and, wherever possible, they will be segregated from the carriageway. It aims to encourage cycling to and from Harrogate town centre and will link to important destinations within the town.

The design includes junction upgrades at College Street, Harlow Moor Road, Hill Rise Avenue, Hill Rise Close, Pannal Ash Drive and Pannal Ash Road.

This scheme follows significant work already undertaken to improve the efficiency of signalised junctions along Otley Road.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “These improvements are being delivered as part of the Government’s £4.6m award to the council from the National Productivity Investment Fund for sustainable transport in the west of Harrogate.

“The measures will help to improve safety and alleviate the congestion experienced along the Otley Road corridor. They are essential to accommodating existing traffic and supporting future growth, as set out in Harrogate Borough Council’s Local Plan. The improvements will significantly benefit the community and help to create a better-connected and safer network for pedestrians and cyclists.”

County Councillor Jim Clark, Member for Harrogate Harlow division, added: “I am very pleased that this scheme is now about to start following delays caused by the complexities of the Stray Act. The junction improvements and new cycle path will do much to combat congestion along Otley Road.”

Cllr Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member Carbon Reduction and Sustainability, said: “It is great to see that work will soon be under way to see the delivery of the first phase of an excellent active travel link, along a key corridor that connects the town centre and west Harrogate. The off-road route includes sections of widened footways and segregated cycle lanes to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists along the route. These measures combined with improvements at the Otley Road/Harlow Moor road junction will complement recent traffic signal changes at this junction and will help to improve safety for all users of the corridor, as well as alleviating congestion issues in an area planned for future growth. 

“Promotion of sustainable transport is a key priority for Harrogate Borough Council as it supports our ambition to see a reduction in congestion and carbon emissions and improve air quality and encourage healthier lifestyles.”

The junction of Harlow Moor Road with Otley Road will be widened and a left turn lane into Harlow Moor Road will be created. This will address the impact of queuing traffic in the short term, and in the longer term will provide capacity for the growth identified in the Local Plan.

Depending on the weather, the work is expected to be completed within ten weeks.

Work will mainly be between 7am and 5.30pm on weekdays only. Temporary traffic lights will operate. These will be staffed to minimise disruption and to give emergency services priority access, if necessary. Resurfacing will be done overnight, when road closures will be necessary.

Pedestrian access and access to homes and businesses will be maintained throughout the work. Traffic ambassadors will be on hand to help pedestrians and motorists. The highways office is liaising with Harrogate Grammar School to ensure safe movement of pupils and vehicles to the school during the works.

Cllr Mackenzie added: “The work has been timed to start after the busy summer holiday period, but we realise there will be some disruption, so we apologise for that and thank people in anticipation for their patience.

“Most of the work will be carried out during the day, to minimise noise for residents at night, though some work, such as resurfacing, can be carried out only at night under a full road closure.”

Further phases of the cycle route are planned. The next phase, from Arthur's Avenue to Beech Grove, giving access to the town centre, will be undertaken after legal requirements associated with the use of the Stray are finalised. The final phase, from Harlow Moor Road to Cardale Park, will be funded by developers. Discussions are taking place with developers about the design and delivery of this section.

Visit Harrogate Sustainable Improvement Package to find out more. Regular progress reports will be posted there throughout the construction period.