The Transport Talk column with Don Mackenzie

Heavily trafficked Beckwith Road will be resurfaced.
Heavily trafficked Beckwith Road will be resurfaced.

The Otley Road area to the west of Harrogate could benefit from a bid submitted by County Council highways officers to the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

The bid is valued at £4.7m, including local contributions and s106 funding from developers, and is for a package of measures to reduce congestion and increase the efficiency of the Otley Road transport corridor.

Potential schemes to be funded by the £4.7m bid are as follows:

l Junction and signal upgrades on Otley Road, particularly at Harlow Moor Road

(£2.0m)

l Rural road improvements between Cardale Park and Burn Bridge (£700k)

l New off-road cycle track alongside Otley Road from Cardale Park to Prince of Wales

Roundabout on Leeds Road (£800k)

l Sustainable transport facilities at Cardale Park including electric vehicle charging (£200k)

l New roundabout on A61 at its junction with Burn Bridge Lane (£1m)

NYCC submitted the maximum of two bids to the DfT, the other in the current round being for £3.4m worth of highway and pedestrian improvements linked to the redevelopment of the Northallerton Prison site.

If successful, work on the schemes would have to start in 2018/9 and the funds be spent by the end of March 2020.

The Harrogate district is already benefiting from NPIF funding in the current year. The County Council was allocated £5.1m to be spent during 2017/8, and some of this is being used for Bond End junction improvements and upgrading of Junction 47 of the A1M.

Readers will be aware that there have been calls for improvements to the road surface of Beckwith Road, not least by Jim Clark, the local councillor.

This residential estate road, originally made of concrete, and now topped by a skim of asphalt, is used by many as an unofficial inner ring road between the north and south of the town. Such levels of traffic are far higher than was foreseen when the road was first constructed, and it shows.

Highways officers are hoping to give the go-ahead for complete re-surfacing of Beckwith Road later this year.

The northbound bus stop opposite the Royal Hall on Ripon Road will be moved further away from the busy junction with Parliament Street to allow vehicles to pass between stationary buses and the adjacent traffic island.

Occasionally, larger vehicles get stuck behind the bus causing congestion at what is already a very busy junction.

This follows publication of a Traffic Regulation Order earlier this year, to which there were no objections. Work to move the stop a few metres northwards will include new kerbing, signage and re-positioning the guard rails.

Work is expected to take place soon.

The Harrogate Civic Society and others have expressed their concerns about the sale of the public highway as part of the disposal of the Borough Council’s offices in Crescent Gardens.

They question how this can happen without consultation with residents. The fact is a so-called Stopping-Up Order will need to be progressed before the public highway can be closed.

Such an order requires several steps to be taken in sequence and public consultation needs to take place.

This matter will no doubt be taken further once the planning application for the proposed conversion of the offices into apartments has been submitted.

There are calls for controlled pedestrian crossings outside schools on Wetherby Road, Harrogate and Otley Road, Killinghall.

The current advice of highways officers is that neither location warrants such a facility for a variety of reasons.

The recent granting of planning permission for two new classrooms at Killinghall School includes the provision of a crossing facility.

A detailed report by the County’s highways consultants recommends a pedestrian refuge, rather than a controlled crossing, which would be little used outside of the start and end of the school day. School crossing patrol persons are ideal in these situations, but it is very difficult indeed to recruit personnel for those positions.