North Yorkshire County Council, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership and Highways England have secured funding for multi-million pound A1(M) junction improvements that will support business growth and job creation, ease congestion and enhance east to west transport connections.
The Enterprise Partnership will contribute £2.47m towards the £3.63m scheme to upgrade junction 47 of the A1(M) where it crosses the A59 linking Harrogate and York. The remaining £1.16m will come from the County Council. The scheme will be undertaken by the County Council supported by Highways England, which is responsible for motorways and major A-roads and which supplied funding for the design of the scheme. The scheme will include widening of access and slip roads and providing traffic signals.
This junction is a major entrance to both Harrogate and York for tourists, commuters and residents. Its high traffic flow can lead to delays, particularly at peak times when queues can stretch onto the main carriageway of the A1(M). The improvements will increase capacity, removing or reducing queues. New signal controls will enable the system to react to changes in traffic flow by altering priorities between approaches.
The funding announcement coincides with Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee giving outline approval for a 100-acre eco-friendly business park, Flaxby Green Park, to the south-west of junction 47.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: This upgrade is part of the County Council’s long-term plan to enhance east to west connectivity along the A59 and A64, improving travel for residents and visitors while opening up the surrounding area for business growth. This is an important step in the County Council’s Plan for Growth, which seeks long-term economic prosperity through investment in infrastructure and skills.
Flaxby Green Park is a major scheme that promises to bring high-quality, accessible jobs to the district. This development will place further demands on junction 47 and our highways officers are exploring with the developer the possibility of incorporating the additional junction upgrades required by the planning permission for this development.
Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member David Dickson, said: Investing in infrastructure like this at the junction of the A1/A59 near the proposed new Flaxby Green Park, is one of the ways we are working with our partners to significantly increase our area’s economy here at the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Our £2.5m investment will not only help our area’s businesses maximise their opportunities from the major growth centres in nearby Harrogate and York, but to also gain from the enormous opportunities on the A1(M) growth corridor connecting north and south. We are doing everything we can to help our area’s businesses capitalise on these business opportunities, to help us achieve our target to increase our area’s economy by £3 billion by 2021.
Dan Edwards of Highways England said: This is great news for the area as these improvements will increase capacity, reduce congestion while supporting economic growth in the area. We will be working closely with North Yorkshire County Council to ensure any disruption for drivers is kept to a minimum.
A start date for the scheme is yet to be confirmed and will depend on the outcome of talks with the developer.
Cllr Mackenzie added: If it is practical to carry out the additional works needed for the business park development at the same time, that will avoid the need for two sets of works at the junction within a couple of years of each other. In that case, it is likely work would begin next January. However, if the works have to be done separately, the County Council and Highways England improvements could begin in September for completion early next year.