North Yorkshire County Council is urging drivers to use the official signed diversion route following the closure of the A59 at Kex Gill.
The route past Kex Gill has been closed due to concern about the stability of the hillside.
Since the implementation of the emergency closure on Tuesday night, there have been reports of motorists taking short cuts through the West End/Thruscross, Otley and Addingham areas causing congestion, additional delays, highway damage and road safety concerns.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:
Many of the local roads are completely unsuitable for the size and volume of vehicles that normally use the A59.
More robust fencing and concrete barriers are being installed at the A59 closure points and also at North Moor Road/Kex Gill Road and Hall Lane to prevent motorists from removing the signs and driving through.
Access will be maintained for residents via Reservoir Road but NO access will be available to the A59.
The A59 was closed at Kex Gill after significant movement and substantial cracks were detected on the hillside after recent heavy rain. This stretch of the A59 runs across very high ground between Skipton and Harrogate and has in the past been affected by landslips in bad weather.
The county council’s geotechnical engineers carried out a full survey of the slope on Wednesday January 6th and they have advised that significant movement in parts of the slope of up to 800 mm has been observed. A substantial flow of water has also been observed at the top of the area of instability and discussions are underway with contractors about proposals to divert the water. Further monitoring is scheduled for Monday January 11th after which a further update on the road closure will be provided.
Cllr Mackenzie said:
We do not underestimate the significant inconvenience this closure presents to road users in the North Yorkshire, Leeds and Bradford areas, but safety on the highway must be our greatest priority.
I would like to advise that there are no businesses within the ‘closed’ section of road and all businesses either side of the closure points remain open for business.
Where possible, non-emergency highway works on the diversion route will be rescheduled, however there are some immediate repairs required in various locations following the recent flooding event. Congestion is expected at Billams Hill / Farnley Lane in Otley from today as emergency electricity resilience works are carried out by Northern Powergrid to repair a high voltage cable fault, without which Otley town could be left without power. Temporary lights and a pedestrian crossing will be in place on Sunday 10th January only and congestion is expected on the diversion route.in the Otley area.
The signed diversion route is shown on the online map at www.northyorks.gov.uk/roadworks – just add “Kex Gill” into the ‘search location’ address bar on the interactive mapping, and click the ‘road sign symbol’ for more information.