WORK by North Yorkshire County Council towards a new £40 million section of the A59 to bypass the slippage prone section at Kex Gill is progressing ‘at risk’ without a detailed response to its outline business case from the Department of Transport, county councillors will hear next week.

The council’s Executive board will be given a progress report on the troublesome section of road, which has only just fully reopened after cracks appeared in the road surface a year ago.

Repairs, which will include resurfacing due to take place in the middle of May and which will require a another week long closure, have cost the authority in the region of £1.4 million, on top of £1.6 million paid out by the council over the past decade for other landslide repairs.

In the report to Tuesday’s meeting held at County Hall, Northallerton, it is said that discussions with affected landowners along the preferred three mile route, below the current section of road, are ‘ongoing and proceeding well’, but while everything is being done to buy the land by negotiation, officers are also developing compulsory purchase orders, should they be needed.

The preferred route of the new section of road was approved by the Executive in July last year. A further detailed geotechnical investigation was then carried out to make sure the ground was stable and an outline business case submitted to the Department of Transport in January.

Even though officers have not received any detailed feedback from the government office on the outline business case, work is progressing on the full business case in order to stick to the tight time scale to get it submitted in November.

The report continues that because construction of the new road is ‘offline’, there will be little impact on the travelling public.

“There will be some disruption during tie in works at each end of the scheme which would be managed with traffic signals to allow alternate traffic movements, however every effort will be made to keep this to a minimum. Only once the new road is open would work on decommissioning the old road commence.”

The county council has already allocated £4.95 million in its capital plan for the scheme and is proposing to complete it in half of the six years normally allocated to such a project.

The report states that the Department for Transport has indicated that the scheme remains a ‘strong contender’ for funding, providing that the full business case is positive.

“We are confident that the business cases demonstrates the positive benefits of the scheme, but we have not yet had a detailed response from the DoT on the outline business case. The current development of the scheme therefore continues at risk.”

From March, 2017 to March this year, the council has already spent £2.1 million on the scheme, and expects to spend another £1.5 million this year, excluding the purchase of land and assuming there will be no public inquiry. It is hoped work will start in spring, 2020, and take 15 months to complete.