THE long-awaited, multi-million pound realignment of the A59 at Kex Gill will get underway as 'quickly as possible' says North Yorkshire Council.

The county council said last summer that the £60m scheme which will see a new 2.5 mile road constructed alongside the landslip prone section of the A59, between Skipton and Blubberhouses, could be started last autumn, subject to the necessary statutory processes.

The council's assistant director of highways and transportation, Barrie Mason, said this week that the county council remained committed to the project and that the route was a vital east-west link for the county.

“We remain committed to progressing the essential realignment of the A59 at Kex Gill as quickly as possible," he said.

“The route is a vital east-west link within North Yorkshire, as well as into West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Humber ports, so we are pressing ahead with this scheme to provide a safe, reliable route for residents, businesses and visitors.

“However, there are statutory processes that must be completed before we can move to the next stage of the project. We are currently progressing through these processes. Subject to their satisfactory completion, we will move forward with the scheme as soon as possible.”

In June, last year, the county council invited contractors to tender for the realignment work of the section of road following the confirmation of government funding and planning approval earlier in 2021.

The Kex Gill section of the A59 has caused major disruption in the area for years and is currently once again in a poor state. It is prone to landslips and road closures - most recently in 2018, with some lasting several months. The landslips, and on one occasion, a large crack appearing in the surface of the road, have resulted in high maintenance costs and delayed journey times. Closures of the road has meant motorists being diverted through Otley while the cost of repairs over a ten year period was put at £1.6m.

Funding was rubber-stamped in February 2021 to by-pass the route with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps pledging up to £56 million of investment into the scheme.

North Yorkshire County Council will provide the additional £4m towards the £60m cost.

The new section of road will leave the current A59 to the west of North Moor Road, and rejoin the existing road at Blubberhouses. It will include modifications to the junctions of North Moor Road, on the Skipton side of Kex Gill, and at Hall Lane and Church Hill, on the Blubberhouses side of Kex Gill. The county council has said in the past that the work is likely to take around 16 months to complete.