The proposed preferred route for the realignment of the A59 at Kex Gill is expected to be confirmed next week by North Yorkshire County Council.
The landslip prone trans-Pennine route has been closed since May between Skipton and Harrogate following instability below the carriageway. It partially reopened earlier this month after work to stabilise a wall below the road was completed.
Realigning the route to the other side of the valley is part of the county council’s plan to improve east to west transport connections and in a public consultation last year, more than 90% of respondents supported the need to realign the route. A further local consultation, which ended on 12 July, enabled people to view and comment on the proposed preferred route.
kexgill pref route
According to the council, the proposed preferred alignment has been developed taking into account the need to avoid areas shown by ground investigations to be unstable or potentially unstable, balanced with the need to avoid protected landscape.
The alignment would run along the northern slope of the gill. It would be a 5.4km-long single carriageway incorporating climbing lanes for slow-moving vehicles.
North Yorkshire County Council executive member for access Don Mackenzie said: “The executive is being asked to adopt a preferred route for the realignment. At this stage, there is not a detailed design, simply a preferred line for the road. The executive’s approval would open the way for county council officers and our consultants, WSP, to proceed with detailed designs and to begin formal negotiations with landowners and partners.
“We had strong support for the scheme through the consultations, during which two main concerns were raised. These are the need to minimise the impact on local public rights of way, maintaining a cohesive network that is enjoyable to use, and to treat the landscape sympathetically. Meeting these concerns will be among our priorities.”
Development of the scheme, which would normally take about six years, is being accelerated to take three years and subject to the council’s decision next week, a full business case for funding will be produced for submission to the Department for Transport.
It is anticipated construction could start in the financial year 2019-20 and the road could take 14 months to complete.