£60 million to be spent to straighten out the A59
When you turn right from Blossom Street into Holgate road in York you are at the start of a road which winds its way across the pennines through Harrogate, Skipton, Preston and Southport, finally ending at the Mersey Tunnel in Liverpool.
The A59 is famous for a short stretch in North Yorkshire where it sits on a narrow twisting ledge. It’s a difficult drive at times in the summer never mind winter when it’s often closed by snow.
Now Contractors are now being invited to tender for the £60m scheme to realign that route at Kex Gill between Harrogate and Skipton.
Following the confirmation of Government funding and planning approval earlier this year, the invitation to tender marks the latest stage in the work to secure this major trans-Pennine route for generations to come.
The A59 between York and Lancashire is an important east-west link not only within North Yorkshire, but also into West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Humber ports.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “We are pushing forward with this scheme to provide a safe, reliable route for residents, businesses and visitors.
“This stretch of road has experienced closures in recent years because of land slips. These have disrupted travel, enforced long diversions and it’s been very costly.
“The realignment of the route will provide much better connectivity for all road users.”
Work could start as early as autumn this year, but this is subject to satisfactory completion of all the necessary statutory processes. It will mean building a straighter section of road away from the existing ledge.
Kex Gill has a history of landslips and instability and over the years there have been many unplanned and costly closures with the most recent occurring when a crack appeared to be opening up in the highway.
Road closures at Kex Gill cause an inconvenience not just for users of the A59, but for those in the surrounding towns and villages through which traffic is required to make a six mile diversion.