- 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 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.”
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.”