Junction improvement work is due to begin at Bond End, Knaresborough, in March to deliver a new layout designed to address air quality concerns at the junction.
The work is part of the programme of schemes funded from the National Productivity Investment Fund, a £5.1million sum secured by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) to improve local roads and public transport.
The junction was identified as an Air Quality Management Area in Harrogate Borough Council’s Air Quality Action Plan submitted to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2013. It was an area where the annual target for nitrogen dioxide, which mostly comes from traffic pollution, had been exceeded.
One of the key actions required a review of the existing junction at Bond End and the implementation of highway improvements to address the issue of queuing traffic.
Results from a constructive public consultation in January were considered by the Bond End Steering Group, which represents the county, borough and town councils. It was agreed that additional traffic data was to be collected. Over the summer NYCC’s consultants WSP have been working on sophisticated traffic modelling to determine which junction layout would bring the most benefits in terms of air quality and safety.
In January, officers are due to make a recommendation to the Assistant Director, Highways and Transportation and the Business and Environmental Services Executive Members for a decision.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie, said: “I look forward to receiving the recommendations from the Bond End Steering Group and to the decision to move forward with revised traffic arrangements, which are designed to reduce the numbers of queuing vehicles and idling engines, a major cause of NO2 emissions at the busy and complex junction.”
Councillor Zoe Metcalfe, who represents the Knaresborough division and is chair of the Bond End Steering Group, said: “We have listened to the public consultation and were happy to do some further modelling work to ensure we come up with the best solution possible.’’