North Yorkshire County Council has made good progress with drainage and stabilisation works on the A59 at Kex Gill.
The stretch of road, which runs across high ground between Skipton and Harrogate, has been closed since Tuesday 5 January when substantial cracks were detected on the hillside after heavy rain over the Christmas period. In the past, this stretch of road has been affected by landslips in bad weather.
Parts of the slope had shifted by up to 800mm and there was concern about the amount of water that had become trapped and had pooled at the top of the area of instability.
The County Council’s contractors began work on Monday 18 January to install a solution designed by geotechnical engineers to drain the water from this area using a drainage channel. They have been working seven days a week to get the work finished as quickly as possible
These works, which are weather dependent, were initially expected to take up to six weeks and have required a full closure of the A59 either side of Kex Gill. However the discovery of further destabilisation after recent poor weather led to an extension of the construction time by a further 10 days. This means that the road is now expected to re-open during the week beginning 7 March 2016.
However, drier weather over the past week and weekend has meant that contractors have succeeded in completing the drainage channel to take away the main water course from the top of the Kex Gill slope.
They are now working within a less stable area of the slope where the ground is much softer and considerably wetter. During the following few days and next week, side channels will be made to connect to the watercourses on the hillside.
In addition, work has commenced on the further strengthening and drainage work at the bottom of the slope near the A59.
In order to gain access to the area, a temporary ramp and retaining wall on part of the A59 has now been completed Large rocks and stone infill are currently being laid on and behind the existing wall in order to strengthen it.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:
We are very pleased with the progress our contractors have been able to make over the last few days.
Stabilising these steep slopes above the A59 is a difficult and complex operation and we have been working seven days a week to try to complete the work in as short a time as we are able safely to do so.
The slopes are steep and this high ground is subject to harsh weather conditions, but we have been able to push on with the work more recently to get this major route open again as soon as possible.
The County Council’s long-term aim is to deliver a major re‐alignment of the A59 at Kex Gill which is now a priority in the Council’s Strategic Transport Prospectus for improving east‐west connectivity. The cost of such a scheme is currently estimated at approximately £33m.
Progress reports on the work will be posted on the County Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/kexgill, where details of the signed diversion route and a copy of the presentation given at the public meeting held on 20 January can also be found.
Pictures show: Contractors making good progress with drainage and stabilisation works on the slopes above the A59 at Kex Gill