Investigatory work will be carried out on the A59 at Kex Gill later this month to drill boreholes and to enhance the measuring and monitoring capability in the slope above the A59 to help North Yorkshire County Council anticipate any further movement in the hillside.
The stretch of road, which runs across high ground between Skipton and Harrogate, was closed for almost two months last winter after substantial cracks were detected on the hillside following heavy rain over Christmas. Parts of the slope had shifted by up to 800mm and there was concern about the amount of water that had become trapped and pooled at the top of the area of instability. This stretch of road had also been affected by landslips in bad weather on previous occasions. The work last winter was successfully completed to improve the drainage on the slope and reduce the risk of such a situation from occurring in the future.
The County Council’s long-term aim is to deliver a major re‐alignment of the A59 at Kex Gill. This is one of the council’s priorities for improving east‐west transport connections.
In the meantime, work will begin on 23 January, subject to the weather, to enhance the monitoring facility for the slope which could also help identify any further works that could reduce the risk of the road being closed by further movement on the slope.
About a dozen boreholes will be drilled on the slope and the road to determine the geological nature of the ground and the position of the water table. Instruments will be installed in the boreholes to monitor the water table and measure any movement on the slope. Material from the boreholes will give a picture of the ground that will help in determining what further work can be undertaken to stabilise the slope. Any further works would, however, represent only a medium-term solution to hold the slope in place while efforts continue to divert the route.
Julian Smith MP said: I am pleased that NYCC is moving forward on its plans for Kex Gill. I am heartened to also hear that progress is being made regarding options for the future and I will support the council in any way I can when it comes to the application process for central Government funding for any new bypass.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: Ultimately, we want to realign the A59 away from its current route at Kex Gill to avoid the risks of landslips, but this is a long-term project. In the meantime, we must do all we can to mitigate the problems that have closed the road in the past.
We apologise for any inconvenience the work causes, but drivers will benefit as this investigatory work will help us to understand the landscape better, anticipate potential problems and minimise disruption to traffic.
The road will not need to be closed during the investigatory work, but temporary traffic lights will operate 24 hours a day during the work, which is expected to take four weeks.