The future looked bleak in February when Storm Dennis caused the collapse of part of the A19 in North Yorkshire.
A section of the A19 between Chapel Haddlesey and Wand Lane at Eggborough was washed away, resulting in the need for a significant reconstruction project.
Despite the size of the challenge and ongoing adverse weather conditions, North Yorkshire County Council highways team inspected the site as quickly as possible, appointed a contractor, drew up plans and began the work.
The most significant issue was that the scale of the damage was unknown. The investigation and design process was delayed by very slow dissipation of water, the availability of specialist equipment and the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June important BT and gas services were identified near the road and embankment. This required utility companies including Northern Gas Networks and BT to repair and replace their equipment.
Once ground investigation, design and appointment of contractors was complete, reconstruction began in October by contractor Balfour Beatty.
Since then, extensive progress has been made in excavating the old road surface and causeway as well as installing rock armour, which will provide protection against future flood damage to the road.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “I would like to thank everybody involved in getting this project to the stage it is at now. We have made significant progress over the last few months – our teams are doing all they can to get the road reopened as soon as possible.
“When the road collapsed we were faced with a major task for our highways team which brought inevitable difficulties. The planning, design, procurement and mobilisation for a project of this size would normally be carried out over a year prior to the start date. Nevertheless, we swiftly completed this process and our contractors are now working hard this winter.”
Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, said: “I was pleased to see that excavation of the old road and causeway was well advanced and that a quarter of the rock armour protection for the causeway is now in place. With the new gas pipeline installed at a depth of three metres under along the closed road the reconstruction should now make rapid progress.
“The main risk is winter weather and the possibility of flooding while work is being carried out. The project plan takes this risk into account. The engineering team are aware of the urgent need to get the road reopened as soon as possible and will be reviewing the end date as soon as all the rock armour is all in place.
“If anybody wants to see for themselves there is a good view of the work from the River Bank at Chapel Haddlesey and Balfour Beatty have details of the project on display outside the site.”
This section of the A19 is built on a causeway, a road on top of a man made embankment through which run small bridges or culverts to allow water to pass back and forth.
Following significant rainfall resulting in high water levels over a long period, accompanied by high winds that led to almost tidal type erosion, the road suffered catastrophic damage and it was necessary to close it for safety reasons.
Local member Councillor John McCartney, said: “I’m pleased to see the work progressing well and hope for good weather this winter so we can continue at pace. We are now keeping members of the public updated on the scheme with a dedicated webpage. We will also continue to answer any questions.”
The majority of the funding is coming from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). It has secured £6m from the government’s Getting Building Fund for the scheme.
David Dickson, chair of the York & North York Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure and Joint Assets Board, said: “We’re really pleased to see the continued progression of this work. It will provide increased resilience for our region’s infrastructure, and that is important for enabling economic growth.”
The road is scheduled to be reopened by 25 June 2021. The plan includes contingencies so it is hoped work can be completed earlier.