The project is to re-route a section of the road through Blubberhouses Moor that is prone to rockfalls and landslips.
Pending final confirmation of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), which is currently reviewing the full business case, contractors will move on site during December 2022 to clear the moorland by late February 2023 to avoid the bird nesting season. An estimated completion date is May 2025.
Kex Gill, between Skipton and Blubberhouses, has a history of landslips and over the years there have been many unplanned and costly closures. Since 2000, the route has been closed 12 times following landslips, causing inconvenience for users of the A59, the surrounding towns, villages, businesses and farmers.
Grant funding of £56.1m was approved by the DfT last year, against the original budget estimate of £61.6m, with the remainder to be plugged by the county council’s capital reserves.
Following tender returns, the estimated cost of the project has increased by £7.2m to £68.8m due to inflation. The county council executive has approved an increase in its allocated funding from £5.5m to £12.7m, given that the DfT grant is fixed.
County councillor Nathan Hull said: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel with this project now that we have a preferred contractor and a start date in mind. The re-aligned route, which will leave the A59 at North Moor Road and re-join the existing road at Blubberhouses, will be safe and reliable for residents, businesses and visitors for generations to come.”
Dominic Hodges, managing director UK civils at John Sisk & Son, said: “Sisk is really excited to be delivering this strategically important road scheme in North Yorkshire. The scheme is technically challenging with complex engineering solutions required within an environmental sensitive area. We are working collaboratively with all stakeholders to develop an innovative scheme solution and look forward to working with the local community to leave a lasting legacy.”
Sisk has a strong presence in Yorkshire having recently completed the Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme (LPTIP) City Centre Gateways and it is delivering major infrastructure work at York Central.