The organisers of the biggest global sporting event to come to Harrogate in its history has said the world cycling championships would not involve the same level of road closures next year as for the Tour de France in the Harrogate district in 2014.
North Yorkshire County Council’s comments on road closures are echoed by the head of communications for Yorkshire 2019, the organisation formed with the responsibility of delivering the whole event in Yorkshire.
Yorkshire 2019's Charlie Dewhirst said a key point to emphasise was that the championships would not involve the same level of road closures as the Tour de France in the Harrogate district in 2014.
The head of communications said: “A number of road closures and parking restrictions will be required on a daily basis to ensure the safety and security of both riders and spectators.
“However, it is important to note that the timings of road closures and the specific roads that will be closed, will vary each day.
“The Yorkshire 2019 Local Organising Committee is working together with local authorities, primary blue light services, secondary responders and key partners to help deliver a safe and enjoyable event for everyone, whilst minimising disruption in the town and surrounding area."
In terms of whether residents and spectators will be able to cross affected road during races, Charlie Dewhirst said: “There will be periods when driving is restricted but crossing points will be in place on the race routes for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency services.”
As to when the precise details of all road closures would be announced, Charlie Dewhirst said: “Information regarding exact race timings, road closures and parking restrictions will be published in April 2019. These are dependent on confirmation of the television broadcast schedule.”
North Yorkshire County Council is also keen to emphasise that extensive plans were already being put in place to minimise disruption to residents.
The council’s executive member for access, including highways, road and rail transport, Coun Don Mackenzie said a letter would also be going out shortly to every resident in the route areas round Harrogate spelling out the general situation.
Coun Mackenzie said: “The decision by UCI to choose Harrogate and North Yorkshire as the focal point for the 2019 World Championships is great news.”
“North Yorkshire County Council welcomes the opportunity to work as key partner with Harrogate and other districts which will have one or more of the races pass through. Harrogate will be the location of all race finishes throughout this nine-day world championship.
“Unlike recent events like the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, races will include a circuit involving several roads to the west of Harrogate.
“We will be working with our partners to only close roads for the shortest possible time, with the aim to re-open them as soon as it is safe to do so.
“There will be periods when driving is restricted but crossing points will be in place on the race routes for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency services.
“In addition, we are liaising with public transport providers to ensure that their services can operate in the area during the world cycling championships.”
“Every effort will be made to minimise the duration of road closures."
“Along much of the race routes themselves closures will be of the “rolling closure” nature, with roads reopened shortly after the race has gone by.
“The situation in town centres, and especially Harrogate, is a little more complex since there will have to be extended periods of parking restrictions (to avoid vehicles being left on the race route, which we would have to tow away) and longer periods of closure because of the need to move/remove race infrastructure like barriers etc.
“With one or two exceptions very close to the finishing line, we are not expecting closures throughout the championships and we will try to avoid closures in peak times, although that may not be possible in the afternoon peak depending on race timings.
“Precise route details including closures will be confirmed in about six months’ time.”
County Council chief executive Richard Flinton said: “As a major partner, we will use this expertise alongside Yorkshire 2019 and other partners to ensure that those who visit for the races can do so safely and efficiently and that disruption is minimised for those who live and work near the routes.
"We will work with residents and businesses over the coming 12 months to ensure the maximum benefit and minimum impact on day-to-day life in Harrogate and other race locations.”
“We are providing all of the expertise to make sure the highway operates as it needs to during a major event so that it’s a safe an enjoyable experience for all.
“In practical terms this will include drawing on our considerable expertise around where you place the crowds, how to operate and implement the road closures to minimise any disruption and support the smooth operation throughout for competitors, residents, businesses and visitors.
“We will be preparing the highway network and routes from the race starts to Harrogate and everything in between.
“We will also be overseeing the resilience and control procedures with our police partners and the organisers to keep people safe.”
As an indication of the benefits cycling events can bring, this year’s Tour de Yorkshire boosted the Yorkshire economy by £98m.
A record 2.6 million spectators lined the route over the four days of racing between 3 and 6 May and overall spending was up 54 per cent.
Exact timings of races and any associated road closures will be finalised next spring, six months before the event.
Further information will be published on the website as it becomes available.
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