Video: Is the A19 open yet? It is now
Is the A19 open yet? is a question people have been asking since Storm Dennis back in February 2020. It was then that the River Aire flooded and swept away the foundations of the major road linking Selby with the M62.
It’s now open for traffic again after a huge and expensive project to rebuild it.
But there are no guarentees that it will not flood again. It’s been raised a little bit higher but any more and that would have taken months more to complete and taken up more land.
Despite the complexity of the work and time lost in the aftermath of the storms early this year, all the stops were pulled out, says the council, to complete the rebuilding of the A19 at Chapel Haddlesey.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, told us: “We always said we would do everything we could to reopen this stretch of the A19 as soon as possible.
“Storms Christoph and Darcy earlier this year affected the construction schedule, and we responded in a way that meant not only was our contractor, Balfour Beatty, able to claw back the considerable lost time, they were able to reopen the road five days ahead of our planned completion date.”
The road closed in February last year when the River Aire spilled over its banks during Storm Dennis. The A19 at that point is built up because it crosses a flood plain.
Strong winds pushed water in the flood plain across the road and against the embankment. That eroded the embankment, causing the carriageway to subside and crack.
The most significant issue was that the scale of the damage was unknown. Investigation and design were delayed by very slow dissipation of water, the availability of specialist equipment and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “We understood local people’s frustration and their desire to see the road reopened as soon as possible. We do not underestimate the inconvenience.”