A59 at Kex Gill to re-open this weekend after frustrating seven-week closure

A59 at Kex Gill
A59 at Kex Gill

The A59 at Kex Gill is set to re-open on Saturday, more than seven weeks after it was initially closed for safety reasons.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) first closed the road on January 5 when cracks appeared on the hillside following heavy rains over the Christmas period.

The county council's contractors began work on January 18 to install a solution designed by geotechnical engineers to drain the water from this area using a drainage channel.

Contractors hoped to re-open by the end of February but recently announced it would remain closed until March following another period of heavy rainfall.

However, the county council has said it has made 'good progress with extensive drainage and stabilisation works' and can re-open the road as originally planned.

Coun Don Mackenzie, NYCC's executive member for Highways, said he is delighted to have the road open again for motorists, residents and businesses.

He said: “Stabilising these steep slopes above the A59 has been a difficult and complex operation and we have been working seven days a week to try to complete the work in as short a time as we are able safely to do so.

"We know how difficult the closure of this busy road has been for everybody concerned and we have made every effort with our contractors to get the work completed as efficiently and speedily as possible.

“The extensive nature of the work became apparent once we started the job and we have had to cope with further stormy weather over the period which threatened the stability of other areas of the slope.

"But all our officers and contractors have pulled together to come up with solutions to ensure the safety of the hillside above the road and push on with the work."

The slope will continue to be monitored through enhanced monitoring arrangements and, on Saturday morning, road closure barriers and diversion signs will finally be dismantled.

News of the road's reopening will be a welcome relief to local businesses and residents who have been left frustrated and financially impacted by its closure.

Coun John Fort, thanked those affected by the closure for their patience, adding 'every effort' has been made to get the job finished as quickly as possible.

He said: "We know how difficult and disruptive the closure and the long diversions have been and we want to thank everybody for their patience.

"Safety has to come first, but we also know that we have to keep North Yorkshire on the move in order to sustain the economy and people’s livelihoods."

Despite the road's reopening, Coun Mackenzie said he is still committed to ensuring a long-term replacement for it due to ongoing safety concerns.

The county council are hoping to deliver a major re-alignment of the A59 at Kex Gill with the cost of the scheme currently estimated at approximately £33m.