Simply Red: FairgroundiTunesAmazon

Simply Red: FairgroundiTunesAmazon

Kex Gill to reopen on Saturday

Kex Gill to reopen on Saturday

Published at 4:01pm 25th February 2016. (Updated at 9:48am 26th February 2016)

The A59 at Kex Gill is due to reopen on Saturday afternoon, nearly two months after being closed for safety reasons.

North Yorkshire County Council says it's made good progress with extensive drainage and stabilisation work.

The road closed on 5 January after significant movement and substantial cracks were detected on the hillside following heavy rain.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways, said: "We are delighted to be able to open the road this weekend. 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.

"The slopes are steep and this high ground is subject to harsh weather conditions, but we have been able to push on with the work more recently. 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. It is very good news for everybody that we plan to open the road this weekend."

County Councillor John Fort has thanked local residents and businesses for their patience during the closure.

He added: "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, and so we have made every effort with our contractors to get this job finished as quickly as possible."

However, Councillor Mackenzie says that safety at Kex Gill remains an overriding concern and that the hillside will continue to be monitored.

He said: "The safety of the A59 along this stretch remains a primary concern. Although the stabilisation works we have undertaken over past weeks mean we can open the road safely at this point, the stability of the hillside long-term remains a major issue."

During the closure, other maintenance work has been carried out, including patch repairs, road markings, safety fence repairs, drainage works and wall reconstructions.

On Saturday morning, it's expected that the site will be given a final sweep and inspection, and road closure barriers and diversion signs will be dismantled.

North Yorkshire County Council’s long-term aim is to realign the A59 at Kex Gill.

It's currently estimated that the project would cost around £33 million.