Despite the complexity of the work and time lost in the aftermath of storms early this year, all the stops have been pulled out to complete the rebuilding of the A19 at Chapel Haddlesey.
As a result, this vital link for businesses and residents is now on schedule to reopen on Monday, 21 June – almost a week ahead of the planned reopening date.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “We always said we would do everything we could to reopen this stretch of the A19 as soon as possible.
“Storms Christoph and Darcy earlier this year affected the construction schedule, and we responded in a way that meant not only was our contractor, Balfour Beatty, able to claw back the considerable lost time, they are now on schedule to enable us to reopen the road five days ahead of our planned completion date.
“As we entered calmer weather and longer daylight hours, we were confident in making additional investment to fund longer working days and weekend working. This put us in a strong position to achieve our target date or better it, as we now expect to do, subject to any further severe weather or unforeseen circumstances.”
The road closed in February last year when the River Aire spilled over its banks during Storm Dennis. The A19 at that point is built up because it crosses a flood plain. Strong winds pushed water in the flood plain across the road and against the embankment. That eroded the embankment, causing the carriageway to subside and crack.
Despite the size of the challenge and ongoing adverse weather, our highways team inspected the site as quickly as possible and commissioned a design that would allow the contractor to begin reconstruction. The most significant issue was that the scale of the damage was unknown. Investigation and design were delayed by very slow dissipation of water, the availability of specialist equipment and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “We understood local people’s frustration and their desire to see the road reopened as soon as possible. We do not underestimate the inconvenience.”
Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, said: “I am delighted that the A19 and the causeway supporting it is approaching completion and that we now have a date for reopening the road. The A19 is one our busiest roads and the closure made life difficult for many residents and businesses. I would like to thank Balfour Beatty and North Yorkshire County Council for the big push to get the road open earlier than originally planned and to especially thank local residents for their patience while the road was being rebuilt.”
The majority of the funding for the £7.9m scheme has come from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through the Government’s Getting Building Fund. The LEP secured £6m from the Getting Building Fund for the scheme.