The funding is part of a national £345.3m package from the Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund to improve roads and public transport across the country that was announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling on Thursday, 19 October.
West Harrogate is experiencing housing and jobs growth. This funding enables the County Council and Harrogate Borough Council to work together on measures to reduce congestion and increase efficiency along routes in the area.
The main elements are:
- Upgrades to selected junctions on the B6162 Otley Road (primarily upgrading the signal controls, extra traffic lanes and upgrading pedestrian crossings)
- An off-road cycle route along Otley Road between Cardale Park and the Prince of Wales roundabout – this is to encourage travel to and from work at both ends of the corridor as well as provide a safer route segregated from motor vehicles providing a direct link to important destinations within Harrogate
- Sustainable transport facilities at Cardale Park
- Maintenance and minor upgrades to rat runs between the A61 near Buttersyke Bar and the housing and employment areas to the west of Harrogate, specifically to address rat running without encouraging more rat running
- Upgrade of the A61/Burn Bridge Lane junction to a roundabout to address safety issues and congestion.
The Government’s funding amounts to almost two thirds of the cost of the £4.6m package of work, with the remaining funds coming from the County Council, Harrogate Borough Council and contributions from developers.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said:
This will be greatly welcomed by many people in Harrogate, because Otley Road has been suffering from congestion. A large number of houses are going to be built further out along the road, so to have the main access route upgraded will be a huge benefit.
County Councillor Jim Clark, in whose Harrogate Harlow division much of the work will take place, added:
This is excellent news. Local residents have been campaigning for a number of years to have improved infrastructure in the Harlow Hill and surrounding area of Harrogate. This will support the new developments that have already received planning permission.
Funding to improve journeys on the west side of Harrogate is welcome. Residents will be pleased that the project aims to reduce congestion, improve air quality and encourage cycling and walking in the town. I am particularly pleased that local groups, such as businesses, cycle groups and parish councils will be treated as key stakeholders in the project. This is public money from central government, and it is right that local people are involved in the decision making process.
Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, said:
This is great news for the west of Harrogate, and will help to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the area. I am particularly pleased that some of the funding is allocated to deliver the first part of the Harrogate to Knaresborough cycle route. I hope that the added safety of a segregated route will persuade more commuters to cycle to work.
The work which will be undertaken will build on the Access Fund project, where funding was secured from central government to encourage people to consider cycling, car-sharing or using public transport, particularly for the daily commute to work, or trips to school. This will allow high-quality cycle parking and electric vehicle infrastructure to be provided in the local area.
The work is expected to begin in March 2018 and to be completed early in 2020.
The County Council was unsuccessful in a bid for funding for a project in Northallerton to improve pedestrian links between the High Street and the former prison site, which is to be redeveloped to provide additional employment, retail and leisure space. The County Council will work with Hambleton District Council to explore alternative funding opportunities for this work.