Roads along the route of the summer’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France will be closed for at least eight hours, it has been confirmed.
Large sections of main routes through Craven, including parts of the A65, will be closed for the majority of July 5 and 6 when the race passes through the district.
North Yorkshire County Council said the lengthy closures were needed to allow preparation of the race route, handover to the Tour organisers, the race itself and the clear-up.
Tuesday’s announcement of the road closures followed estimated timings of the race made by Tour organisers last week.
It is believed up to 900,000 spectators will line the route for stage one of the event – which goes from Leeds to Harrogate on Saturday, July 5 – with 650,000 expected in North Yorkshire.
The race is expected to enter Craven at Draughton at around 12.40pm before going on to Skipton, Rylstone, Cracoe, Kilnsey, Kettlewell, Starbotton and reaching Buckden at around 1.28pm and Cray a few minutes later.
The cyclists will leave Craven via the “Cote de Cray” at Kidstones, classed by officials as a fourth category climb and sure to attract a concentrated number of spectators because of it counting towards the prized King of the Mountains jersey.
Stage two, on the Sunday, from York to Sheffield, is expected to attract a million people, although most are likely to converge on West and South Yorkshire. Cyclists are due to cross the boundary into Craven at around 12.30pm on the A59 after climbing the Cote de Blubberhouses – a fourth category climb – before going on to Bolton Bridge, Addingham and Silsden.
“It is important to remember just how massive this event is going to be,” said Coun John Weighell, leader of North Yorkshire County Council.
The road closures include: Saturday, July 5 – A65, from West Yorkshire boundary to A6069 junction with Otley Road, A6069 from the A65 to Skipton High Street; A6131 Skipton High Street; B6265 from Skipton High Street to Threshfield; and B6160 from Threshfield to Kidstones.
Sunday – A59 Blubberhouses Moor to Bolton Abbey roundabout and B6160 Bolton Abbey to West Yorkshire boundary.
A Tour de France meeting organised by Skipton Chamber of Trade, Craven District Council and Skipton Town Council is due to take place at Skipton Town Hall on Tuesday from 6pm