Start date given for £69m scheme to improve landslip-blighted A59

A £69m scheme to improve the landslip-blighted A59 at Kex Gill, linking Harrogate and Skipton, will start before the end of the year.

North Yorkshire County Council has awarded preferred bidder status to civil engineering and construction business John Sisk & Son (Holdings).

Contractors will move on site this December to clear the moorland by late February next year to avoid the bird nesting season. An estimated completion date is May 2025.

Kex Gill has a history of landslips and over the years there have been many unplanned and costly closures.

Grant funding was awarded by the Department for Transport at £56.1m 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 as construction markets have seen a huge rise in inflation.

The council said it has approved an increase in its allocated funding from £5.5m to £12.7m, given the Department for Transport grant is fixed.

The executive member for highways and transportation, Cllr Keane Duncan, said: “This is a key step forward for the Kex Gill re-alignment, which is one of the council’s most ambitious ever highways projects.

“The A59 provides a very important east-west connection in North Yorkshire, and the route is listed by the Government in the top 10 for strategic importance nationally.

“Since 2000, the route has been closed 12 times following landslips, all posing a risk to public safety and creating economic disruption.

“Re-aligning the route is the only real solution so we are pleased to now be at the stage where we are ready to appoint a contractor.

“We remain committed to carrying out this key project as quickly as possible and in the most cost-effective way.”