- Investment will fund new carriageway for the A59 in North Yorkshire
- Works will mean fewer road closures along the route as well as more reliable journeys between Harrogate and Skipton
- Funding demonstrates Government commitment to levelling up transport infrastructure across the country
North Yorkshire is set to benefit from a multi-million-pound new road scheme linking the two historic northern towns of Harrogate and Skipton, after the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today (Saturday 30 January) pledged up to £56m to overhaul the Kex Gill section of the A59.
The project, almost entirely funded by the Department for Transport and led by North Yorkshire County Council, will see the construction of a new carriageway, meaning traffic will no longer need to use the existing section of the route, known as Kex Gill.
The Kex Gill section has caused major disruption in the area for years, as it is prone to landslips and road closures which have resulted in high maintenance costs, delayed journey times and unsafe conditions for drivers. The proposed works will offer a more reliable alternative for road users looking to travel the route, while also meaning traffic will no longer be diverted through nearby towns and villages in the region.
Pending final approvals, construction could begin by this autumn, with the new road providing a more reliable route for all road users.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:
I know that residents have been frustrated by frequent road closures at Kex Gill caused by landslips in the area. Our funding will go a long way towards addressing those problems, making journeys more reliable for people travelling between Harrogate and Skipton.
As a Government we’re committed to levelling up across the country and building back better from the coronavirus pandemic – improving transport infrastructure in the North is absolutely vital to both of those ambitions.
Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, North Yorkshire County Council, said:
This is really good news for all users of this vital trans-Pennine route and I am very pleased that the DfT has agreed to approve our bid for funding. I take this opportunity to thank our highways officers and other members of the County Council team who spent much time and effort in ensuring that we were able to present a strong business case to Government, which has now been accepted.
Cllr Stanley Lumley, Member for Pateley Bridge division, said:
This is fantastic news! This scheme has been much anticipated and longed for in my community. I can’t think of another project that has united everyone. The new road will greatly enhance journey safety and reliability. This decision will be very welcomed by locals and visitors over this vitally important cross-country road.
Julian Smith, MP for Skipton and Ripon, said:
It is excellent news that the Government has pledged up to £56 million for the realignment of the A59 at Kex Gill. This permanent solution to this essential part of the highways network is particularly pleasing given the regular closures due to landslips and other safety issues, which has caused so much disruption and congestion over several years. I look forward to work getting started.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones said:
This is a critical part of a major cross-Pennine route and as such is important to people who live in the Harrogate and Knaresborough area as well as many other communities. It is important, therefore, to make sure the route is safe and future-proofed against the danger of landslips and subsidence. That is why I have been keen to support the scheme and help secure the funding that makes it possible.
The scheme is the latest boost for transport in Yorkshire, following the announcement last year of £548m for road maintenance in the Yorkshire and Humber region as well as a further £589m for work to upgrade and electrify the Transpennine main line. The Government has also established the Northern Transport Acceleration Council which is dedicated to speeding up the delivery of vital infrastructure projects and better connecting communities across the North’s towns and cities.
North Yorkshire Country Council will be leading on the development of the new road scheme and providing around £4m towards the £60m project.
North Yorkshire County Council leader Councillor Carl Les said:
We whole-heartedly welcome this announcement. The confirmation of funding is an important milestone towards bringing this much-needed project to fruition. The A59 is a vital east-west connection and a continuing priority for the county council. It is essential for the prosperity of businesses within North Yorkshire and the wider region that this route is safe, reliable and resilient. The current road, with its history of landslips and resultant closures, cannot guarantee those things, so we urgently need this realignment.