The Transport Talk column with Don Mackenzie

A Google streetview image showing the lower end of Parliament Street  one of the towns busiest junctions.
A Google streetview image showing the lower end of Parliament Street  one of the towns busiest junctions.

A significant investment will be made in traffic management in Harrogate. Traffic lights at the junction of Kings Road, Ripon Road, Parliament St and Crescent Road, and including those at Parliament St, Oxford St and Kings Rd, Cheltenham Crescent are to be changed.

Equipment will be upgraded and detection systems improved.

The £210,000 investment in top-of-the-range equipment will enhance the capacity and efficiency of these busy junctions.

Work is expected to start soon and disruption to traffic will be kept to a minimum.

Independent consultants, Mouchel, acting for North Yorkshire County Council, have contacted members of the Harrogate Area Committee and the wider Engagement Group, to seek views on traffic and congestion problems in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

These will be reported to the HRR Steering Group, which I chair, and which includes County Councillor Michael Harrison and HBC Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Phil Ireland.

The next meeting of the Group will take place in July.

Public consultation is planned in autumn, and a recommendation on whether a relief road is needed to combat congestion, and, if so, on a preferred route for such a road, will be made by the Group.

It will go to the Area Committee for consideration in March 2018.

The NYCC Executive will take the views of the Area Committee into account when they decide which option, if any, to progress to an Outline Business Case, and ultimately, to a bid for funding.

The Bond End junction improvement scheme in Knaresborough will make rapid progress over the next four weeks after the public gave its views earlier this year on options to improve traffic flows in this Air Quality Management Area.

The Steering Group (made up of the two county councillors for Knaresborough, Zoe Metcalfe and Nicola Wilson, HBC Cabinet Member, Phil Ireland, and KTC member, James Monaghan) will be asked to recommend a preferred option to the corporate director and executive members for decision.

Construction work is expected to start in November.

The new traffic arrangements will be designed to improve traffic flows and reduce the numbers of standing vehicles, whilst keeping roads and footpaths safe for cyclists and pedestrians.

Last week Harrogate Borough Council’s Planning Committee approved outline plans for a 40-hectare green business park at Flaxby to the southwest of junction 47 of the A1M with the A59.

This is a major scheme, which promises to bring high quality, accessible employment to the district.

The scheme will place further demands on J47.

Highways England and NYCC have already secured LEP funding, which, together with the County’s own contribution of £1.2m, will bring about £3.6m worth of improvements including widening of access and slip roads, and traffic signalisation.

Highways officers are discussing with the developers the possibility of incorporating these planned improvements with further junction upgrades, as required by the planning permission.

The County’s Harrogate Area Highways Office in Boroughbridge has been successful in securing supplements to its maintenance budget.

These will be used to fund additional road repair gangs and to make more rapid progress with filling of potholes in the area.

All on-street parking ticket machines have been converted to accept the new £1 coin.

These machines were installed earlier this year and take both coins and cards.

Recent letters to this newspaper have criticised utility companies for what are considered unnecessary lane closures and traffic controls whilst no work seemed to be taking place.

As I confirmed in my last Transport Talk, NYCC is currently consulting on proposals to introduce a Permit Scheme for such works on the highway, a measure which will give us greater control, and utilities more incentive to complete their excavations quickly and on time.