A public consultation begins today (Monday, 11 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.
Realigning the A59 at Kex Gill to the other side of the valley is part of North Yorkshire County Council’s strategic transport plan to improve east to west connections between the east coast and Humber ports and Lancashire.
A consultation focusing on four routes that have been assessed as the most achievable begins today and will be open to take views from the public until 31 October.
Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said: “I am delighted that this project is moving to the next stage. I would encourage every interested user of the A59 to contribute to the consultation. This stretch of road is vital to the local area and as a trans-Pennine route for freight and other users. I stand ready to assist North Yorkshire County Council to ensure they are given the fullest support from central government.”
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.”
County Councillor Stanley Lumley, local member and a member of the Kex Gill steering group, said: “This cross-county route is very important for business and tourism and vital to our economy. Kex Gill has always been a challenge in its current form, narrow and twisting, especially for large vehicles. Whenever the road has to close there is significant impact on businesses along the route and, I suspect, communities that link with the road. The land stability will not improve, so investing more in the existing road is not a cost-effective option. It is fantastic news that the Government recognises the importance of this new route. I understand the importance of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Site of Special Scientific Interest, but it is imperative this new route goes ahead.”
The consultation and details of all the routes are available online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/kexgill from Monday.
In addition to the online consultation, public engagement meetings have been arranged as follows:
- Skipton Town Hall, Concert Hall, Thursday 21 September, 10am-2pm and 3pm-8pm
- St Peter’s Church Hall, Harrogate, Friday 22 September, 10am-2pm and 3pm-8pm
- Norwood Social Hall, Washburn, Saturday 23 September, 9.30am-3pm
Paper copies of the consultation and related material and available on request: email LTP@northyorks.gov.uk, call 01609 780780 or write to Transport Planning, BES, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AD.