THE planned new £40 million road to bypass the unstable section of the A59 at Kex Gill between Skipton and Harrogate will include an improved junction close to Fewston Reservoir.

The current staggered junction, with a steep climb up Shepherd Hill, with the Church of St Andrew, on the left, will be replaced with a gentler junction and with dedicated access roads to the church and to the car park of Fewston Reservoir.

There will also be a dedicated turning lane to Shepherd Hill in the direction of Otley, and on the other side of the A59, the current Hall Lane will be closed off and the new section of A59 will come out closer towards Skipton, with a new, separate access to Hall Farm and to the listed Blubberhouses Hall.

At the Skipton end of the realignment, it was originally planned to follow the route of an existing bridleway from Kex Gill Farm, but the route was changed because of sensitive peat bogs.

The route will now go from further towards the direction of Harrogate, starting at North Moor Road, with the new section of road running to the left of the existing A59 heading towards Harrogate.

Although single carriageway, there will be a climber lane west bound, in the Skipton direction, to allow for slower moving vehicles. The new section of road will also feature two underpasses, to allow for the existing bridlepath, which starts at Kex Gill Farm.

North Yorkshire County Council has just held a series of drop in events, explaining what it hopes to do, and later this month will submit a planning application. As the authority that deals with the building of new roads, the application will be determined by North Yorkshire county councillors.

The Skipton drop-in session, held at the town hall hub, was well attended, and included computer imagery allowing people to better understand the proposed route through the difficult terrain of Kex Gill. The realignment is estimated to cost in the region of £40 million, with the county council contributing £4.9 million of the cost. An outline business case to the Government’s Department for Transport received positive feedback in the summer, and a full business case detailing the county council’s argument for the key trans-Pennine route used not only by residents but by visitors to the area, is due to be submitted in November. There have been several landslips at Kex Gill, the most recent in May, last year, and despite expensive and lengthy repairs, the risk of landslides remains.

It everything goes to plan, work on the new section of road will start in late spring, 2020, take about 16 months and open during the summer of 2021.

To see the detailed planned route, visit: