Delays to A1M Junction 47 scheme near Knaresborough push up costs

A major project to improve Junction 47 near Knaresborough is nearing completion despite a series of unforeseen delays.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 8:27 am

The scheme at the A1M, involves widening three of the four slip roads onto and off the roundabout to increase capacity as well as a number of junction improvements, is due to be completed by spring 2022 say North Yorkshire council officials.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “We are looking forward to the completion of this important scheme, which anticipates significant residential and commercial development along the A59 corridor.

“The prolongation of the schedule is not expected to cause disruption to traffic flows at the junction and will be accompanied by additional safety work on the vehicle restraint systems on the A1M slip roads.

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“Whilst progress on construction works will depend upon winter weather conditions, we are confident that we can fully complete the scheme by spring.”

As well as widening the slip roads, traffic signals will be installed on the roundabout to improve traffic flow.

Signals will also be added to the T-junction between the A168 and the A59 a short distance from Junction 47 on the York side to benefit drivers turning onto the A59 and to improve safety.

To the west of Junction 47, between the A1 and the Flaxby roundabout, a lane will be added for traffic travelling east, so there will be two lanes in each direction between those two roundabouts.

The scheme had been scheduled to reach completion by the end of 2021 but encountering unforeseen poor ground conditions on the southbound slip road has significantly restricted the speed of work taking place and the methods that can be used.

In addition, the discovery of great crested newts caused a delay as they legally had to be relocated.

During the coronavirus pandemic, operatives had to comply with secure site procedures which also extended the timescale.

Coun Andy Paraskos, member for the Ainsty division, added: “The delays to the project are unfortunate, but unforeseen issues are always a risk on major schemes like this.

“We can look forward to the long-term benefits from next spring for residents, commuters and visitors for many years to come.”

The project has been supported by £2.47m from the government’s Local Growth Fund, secured by the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, along with contributions from the County Council, National Highways and developer Forward Investment LLP.

A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman added: “The challenges encountered on this complex project have inevitably increased the cost, which was about £10m in September 2021 compared with an original budget cost of £7.7m.

“The latest estimated costs are the subject of detailed discussions with the council’s contractor and will be publicly available once agreement is confirmed.”