A highly-anticipated traffic detection system to warn of blockages at Sutton Bank is now in operation.
Sutton Bank has a steep gradient and hairpin bend, making it one of the most infamous climbs in North Yorkshire. On average, highways teams have to deal with 120 blockages by HGVs every year and around 400 suffer problems on the bank.
The introduction of an advance warning system will not only inform road users of blockages on the route, but will also warn of snow and ice.
The two interactive signs on Long Street in Thirsk and on the A168/A19 roundabout on York Road are an effective way in advising road users to avoid the route, and allows highways officers to react to closures and disruption on Sutton Bank quickly.
Local member Councillor Gareth Dadd contributed £5,000 from his locality budget, and Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe Parish Council provided £1,000. The total cost of the scheme was £40,000.
“I’m proud to have part-funded this long-anticipated detection system which will be greatly received by everybody who uses Sutton Bank,” said Cllr Dadd.
“The system along the route will pick up a change in traffic behaviour and automatically display it on the interactive signs. The decision to place them at both ends of Thirsk allows sufficient time to choose an alternative route.
“I have been pushing for something to be done about delays on the route for years so this is a very welcome scheme. It’s great to see it up and running to coincide with the easing of lockdown restrictions.”
The A170 is a primary route for cars and freight lorries to and from the East Coast and carries thousands of vehicles a week. From Thirsk, the A170 is the entry point into the North York Moors.
In 2001 the AA labelled the route as one of the most dangerous in Britain and caravans have been prohibited from using the bank since May 1984.
Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe Parish Councillor Brett Edgeworth said: “Sutton Bank has a long history of vehicles getting into difficulties because of its sharp incline and hairpin bends. Often this has involved unnecessary delays and led to many dangerous situations that could be otherwise avoided by improved real-time information.
“The Parish Council has committed its energies over the past eight years to raise the importance of road safety improvements for the road from Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe to the top of Sutton Bank. We welcome the contribution this technology can now bring to advising road-users of real-time issues on the bank.”