PLANS for a new stretch of road to bypass the notorious section of the A59 at Kex Gill are to go on show to the public.

Drop in sessions will give people a chance to take a closer look at the plans, and to question the engineers behind the scheme.

North Yorkshire County Council hopes to start work on the £40 million, around three mile stretch of road in late spring, next year, expects it to take around 16 months to complete, and if everything goes to plan, is looking to open it during the summer of 2021.

The A59 is a key trans-Pennine route between Skipton and Harrogate, but has a long history of instability in the land above the road west of Blubberhouses. There have been several landslips over the years, which have led to road closures, the most recent in May 2018, which lasted for several months.

Because of the risk of further landslips, the county council developed proposals for a permanent solution, involving the realignment of the route to the other side of the valley.

The scheme received strong support during a public consultation last year, after which a preferred route was approved by the council executive. This year, the Government’s Department for Transport gave positive feedback to the council’s outline business case, and it is now working towards submitting the final document by the end of November.

Meanwhile, a planing application for the new section of road is due to be submitted next month.

The proposed new section of road passes through the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The landscape is valued as a recreational area and also supports protected habitats and species and is designated s a nature conservation area.

The county council says proposed new route has taken into account the need to avoid areas shown to be unstable or potentially unstable, balanced with the need to avoid protected landscape. The single track road will run along the northern slope of Kex Gill and will include climbing lanes for slow vehicles.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “We have made very good progress towards securing a permanent solution to the problems caused by unstable ground conditions along the current alignment of the A59 at Kex Gill. We have always made a point of keeping local people informed and involved. These events are an ideal opportunity for people to keep up to date with developments and ask any questions they have for the experts.”

County Councillor Stanley Lumley, member for Pateley Bridge, added: “The problems experienced in the past have caused significant disruption to businesses and residents of the area and to commuters and visitors using this important east-west route. I’m sure people will be pleased to see the progress being made towards a solution that will remove the risk of similar issues in the future.”

Drop in sessions will take place at: Skipton Town Hall Hub on Tuesday, October 1, from 1.30pm to 7pm; Humberstone Bank Farm (Yorkshire Water facility) on Wednesday, October 2 from 1pm to 7pm; and at The Cairn Hotel, Harrogate, on Thursday, October 3, from 1pm to 7pm.