LATEST repairs to the unstable section of the A59 at Kex Gill has cost North Yorkshire County Council around £1.4 million, it has been revealed.

The section of road, between Skipton and Harrogate, has only just fully reopened after cracks appeared in the carriageway in the late spring of last year. Another week long full closure is due to take place next month for it to be resurfaced.

Meanwhile, the highways authority says it is on track to start work on its proposed around £30 million re-alignment of the section of road, notorious for landslides, in the spring of next year.

It is working on a planning application for the around three mile section to be submitted to its own planning committee in October, and at the same time is preparing a full business case for the Department of Transport, after the submission of an outline case last year.

David Bowe, the county council's corporate director of business and environmental services, acknowledged that the authority was working to a tight timescale.

He said the council was working with landowners and was prepared to use compulsory purchase orders if necessary.

“Normally, a project of this nature would be completed over a six-year programme, but as stated previously we are condensing this into three years, so the timescale is very tight. We currently propose to submit the planning application in October this year," he said.

“We are engaging with landowners in an effort to acquire the land by agreement. However, if that is not possible, we will seek to use compulsory purchase powers.”

The section of road was closed unexpectedly in the late spring after large cracks appeared. It remained fully closed until July when it was reopened to single file traffic only, with temporary lights in place.

Final resurfacing was due to take place at the end of last year, but complications meant it being put back until Monday, May 13.

The council says latest repairs have been complicated, involving specialist equipment and during the full closure, last year, the stationing of guards 24 hours a day to stop people trying to avoid the official diversion by using single track roads in the area.

It says the latest cost of repair, on top of previously acknowledged £1.6 million spent following other landslides over the last decade, provides further justification for the necessity of its long term diversion scheme.

A public consultation carried out last year in Norwood was attended by more than 200 people, with a high number giving support to the realignment scheme.

The county council says the A59 is an important trans-Pennine route and the realignment at Kex Gill is part of its strategic transport plan to improve east to west transport connections.