SPECIALIST equipment is due to arrive at Kex Gill on Monday to carry out further investigations into the cause of movement.

The A59, between Skipton and Harrogate, has been closed since the end of May.

Next week's work will go towards assessments carried out by engineers made immediately after the road was closed.

North Yorkshire County Council says the latest investigations will be complex because of the difficult ground conditions and the presence of utilities apparatus, including fibre optic cables.

The coring equipment expected to arrive on site on Monday is specialist and in high demand for projects around the country, but the county council has secured its use as quickly as possible.

It will take samples of material to reveal conditions beneath the ground, which will be used to help the council understand what has happened and to decide on the best solution.

The council says a programme will then be put together with regular updates to keep residents and businesses informed.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, the council's Executive member for highways, said: “Unlike earlier closures, this one is not caused by instability in the slope above the highway. It appears to be caused by instability below the highway. It is a complex situation and we need to have a complete picture before finalising a way ahead. However, it is a top priority of the county council to fix this problem and to reopen the road as quickly as possible.

“We fully understand the disruption caused to local residents and businesses by this closure, but the safety of the travelling public is our primary concern, so it’s essential that the A59 remains closed at Kex Gill while these further investigations are carried out."

He added: “Realigning this stretch of the A59 to provide a permanent solution is integral to our transport strategy for the county and work towards this is well under way.”

The A59 is an important trans-Pennine route between Skipton and Harrogate, but has a history of instability and movement of the land at Kex Gill and there have been numerous landslips. Realigning the road at this point to the other side of the valley is part of the council’s strategic transport plan to improve east to west connections.

During the current closure, the diversion route for traffic going east from Skipton or west from Harrogate follows the A65, A660, A658 and A61 via Ilkley and Otley.

The council has put ambassadors in place 24 hours a day on the local road network to help people to follow the correct route. The council says they will do everything they can to maintain access for local traffic, but it is important that motorists heed the signs. Ambassadors will direct commercial vehicles and through traffic away from local routes.