Tests will be carried out to ascertain the extent of the damage to the A19 near Chapel Haddlesey, which was closed on safety grounds on Tuesday morning.
The section of road between Chapel Haddlesey and Wand Lane, Eggborough, is closed until further notice pending the results of a detailed inspection of the structural integrity of the highway and the embankment on which the road is built.
David Bowe, North Yorkshire County Council’s Corporate Director of Business and Environmental Services, said: “The River Aire has effectively broken its banks, as it can in times like this, and has a huge flood plain around Chapel Haddlesey, particularly to the south.
“The A19 from Chapel Haddlesey to Eggborough is in essence on a causeway, it is built up because it crosses a significant flood plain. Because of the strong winds, the water in the flood plain has lapped across the top of the road in places, but has also been lapping against the side of the carriageway.
“Initial investigations indicate that this water has eroded the embankment of the causeway in several locations and has caused some of the carriageway to subside and crack.
“At the moment, we don’t know the extent of the damage, so we don’t know how stable the road is and, clearly, we can’t allow anybody on it. We are going to drill test holes to explore the stability so that we fully understand the situation and what repairs need to be carried out.”
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, added: “At this stage, we can’t say how long the road will need to be closed. We will update the public as soon as we have more information.
“In the meantime, we strongly remind motorists not to attempt to drive through the closed section of the A19 or to remove any of the traffic management. This is in place for the safety of all the travelling public, and its removal is not only dangerous but is an offence.”
Diversions are in place. HGVs will be diverted along the M62, A1M and A63. A more local diversion route will be signed for non-HGV traffic.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “There are local diversions that we know local people will use, but we appreciate these are still significant. We will not divert HGVs along those routes, because that would adversely affect communities along those routes.”