Utility firm defends Harrogate road closures

Bad signs for drivers - Roadworks near the Prince of Wales roundabout in Harrogate. (Pictue by Gerard Binks Photography)
Bad signs for drivers - Roadworks near the Prince of Wales roundabout in Harrogate. (Pictue by Gerard Binks Photography)

Yorkshire Water has said it has been trying its best to keep disruption for drivers to a minimum during a major pipeline project in the middle of Harrogate.

A spokesperson for the utility firm said it had acted quickly to reduce the problem after the initial traffic jams on roads in the Prince of Wales roundabout areas earlier this week.

Yorkshire Water said: “We appreciate the work may cause a certain amount of traffic disruption near to the Prince of Wales roundabout which we are doing our best to control with additional temporary traffic lights along Otley Road and York Place to prevent the roundabout from becoming gridlocked.

“To help alleviate this traffic a little we removed the lane closures on York Place on Monday.”

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More roadworks on their way

But the spokesperson confirmed the Leeds Road part of the work will continue until the end of April and the next phase of work will see digging on York Place.

To make matters worse, in a separate development, Oatlands Drive is to be closed from this Saturday until March 3.

Harrogate MP's views

The town’s MP Andrew Jones said he understood how disruptive the pipeline project was proving but had been reassured by Yorkshire Water that they were determined to complete the work in as quickly as possible.

He said: “I know that a lot of people are having to be very patient while these works happen.

“Living nearby I understand exactly how disruptive the roadworks are.

“However, this investment is vital to help Harrogate maintain its excellent water supply.

“Like everyone, I look forward to seeing the completion of the project and have been reassured that Yorkshire Water are determined to complete it in as short a time as is safely achievable.”

Yorkshire Water said more disruption was inevitable as the vital work was carried out in future.

A spokesperson said: “We’ve worked extensively with North Yorkshire County Council’s Highways Department and Harrogate Borough Council regarding every aspect of this essential scheme to try and minimise traffic disruption.

“We agreed to avoid work on Prince of Wales roundabout itself which would have caused a higher level of disruption.

“At the end of the day, this is essential work necessary to provide extra capacity to meet the predicted water needs of the growing number of new developments, whilst also improving the resilience of the overall water supply to the area.

“We will also be starting work in the Stray as well to lay the pipe to York Place, working with a specialist arboriculturist and the council’s Parks and Environmental Services to ensure tree areas are protected throughout the work.”

Road closures: A perfect storm? Why is this happening?

Although roads will be clear during the two world class cycling events coming to town in Harrogate - the Tour de Yorkshire in May and UCI Road World Championships in September - a perfect storm of different causes means different areas will feel the pain of roadworks at different times in 2019.

Factors include: New housing, utility company upgrades, pothole repairs and road improvements for cycling events.