A MULTI-MILLION pound funding package from the Government which will ensure a long-awaited bypass becomes a reality to provide a gateway to the Yorkshire Dales has been heralded as a massive boost for the region’s economy.
Campaigners argue that the A684 Bedale, Aiskew and Leeming Bar Bypass is essential for the future prosperity of a large part of North Yorkshire and claim it will make it easier for tourists and locals to get to and from the northern Dales.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has given the final go-ahead for the route and announced that it will contribute £29m to build the road with North Yorkshire County Council providing a further £5.4m.
“We are delighted that the DfT has given the go-ahead for this road”, said North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways, Coun Gareth Dadd.
”We believe the bypass is essential for the future prosperity of a very large part of North Yorkshire.
“As well as being of obvious immediate benefit to Bedale and its surrounding communities, the bypass will make access to the northern Dales – one of the heartlands of the hugely important North Yorkshire visitor and tourism economy – very much safer and easier.”
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer added: “The A684 scheme will provide significant environmental improvements to the communities bypassed. The very important local tourist market will benefit and the bypass will help support growth of the local economy.”
The bypass will be about three miles long, from Northallerton Road, on the eastern outskirts of Leeming Bar, to a new junction on the A684 near Bedale Golf Club. The bypass crosses the A1(M), where it will connect with a recently completed junction as part of the Highways Agency’s A1 Dishforth to Barton upgrade.
About 14,000 vehicles use the existing road each day, causing congestion in the market town of Bedale and in Leeming Bar and Aiskew.
The county council estimates the bypass will halve traffic flow through the urban area.
The authority has also claimed the scheme will improve the environment, reduce road safety problems, improve links to the A1(M) and offer better access to Leeming Bar industrial estate.
“Local people have waited a long time for approval of a bypass,” said Coun John Weighell, the leader of North Yorkshire County Council and a member for the Bedale division.
“It will make an enormous difference to the quality of the environment and will be of great benefit to local communities as well as the growing numbers of visitors attracted to this part of the world.”
The contract for the bypass has been awarded to Wills Bros Ltd. The company will be responsible for completing the detailed design and subsequent building work, with the bypass expected to open in the summer of 2016.
Main building work is due to start on the project in Spring 2015. However, there are expected to be some advance works carried out this year, including archaeological investigations.