Drivers waiting for new £12m road to open in Northallerton face indefinite delay

Motorists have been told they face an indefinite delay before they can use the long-awaited £12m North Northallerton bridge and bypass even after the construction works are completed.

A meeting of a North Yorkshire County Council committee heard frustration was mounting over the length of time it was taking to construct the route over Brompton Beck and the Middlesbrough-to-Northallerton railway line, between Darlington Road and Stokesley Road.

The warning from the authority’s highways department follows several setbacks for the scheme following it gaining planning approval in 2015.

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In response to a barrage of objections to plans to build a large estate in the area Hambleton councillors pledged work would begin on the congesting-busting scheme in the spring of 2016.

Plans for the £12m link road were approved in 2015

Work on the three-span structure and link road started in April 2017 and excitement built in the town after a sign was erected stating it would open in spring 2019, before developers announced it would not be complete until the following spring.

Last July, the council revealed the route was scheduled to be finished in January, if not before, but the meeting heard while the construction would now soon be completed “completion of the bridge does not mean the road will be open to through traffic”.

The meeting was told in addition to the normal technical materials inspections that would be done on the bridge and road, the council would ensure a full safety audit, including checks of pedestrian crossings and refuge islands, was completed by independent consultants.

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A highways officer said while the construction team had not advised of a completion date, as soon as people in the community see the bridge completed they would be expecting the bridge to be open, but as it was a classified road be it needed to be thoroughly tested to ensure it was safe.

She said: “We have done the bits that have been opened, but we want someone to review the route as a full road before we open in to through traffic.

“Once the safety audit is done we have to make sure all the issues the auditors have identified are addressed in whatever frm that requires before we can open it to through traffic.

The meeting heard numerous safety concerns had been raised over the safety of the new route, including over the pedestrian crossing lacking signals at Northallerton Road and the size of pedestrian refuge islands on the route.

Councillors were told a mother-of-three from Brompton had already complained the islands were too small to fit her children’s bikes and a pram on the island at the same time.

Calling for action to ensure safety on the route, the committee’s chair, Brompton councillor David Hugill said: “It is a real concern if there are road safety issues there.”

Highways officers said while they understood the resident’s concerns, three bicycles and a pram was “pushing the limits of what it is reasonable for us to design for”.