Major A1(M) junction improvement scheme in North Yorkshire delayed after protected great-crested newts are found living at the site

The discovery of rare great-crested newts living in ponds on the site of an A1(M) road widening scheme has set the project back several months.

Work was meant to be completed this month but is now expected to be finished in the spring, with no firm date given.

The scheme involves the widening of three slip roads leading to the junction 47 roundabout on the A1(M).

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The site of the improvement works

The interchange provides access to Knaresborough, Harrogate and York via other A roads and often suffers from congestion, particularly during the Great Yorkshire Show.

North Yorkshire County Council has now reveled that great-crested newts were found at the site and as the species is protected, had to be moved elsewhere before construction could resume.

Further delays have been caused by 'unforeseen' poor ground conditions which slowed down the work.

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.

CounDon Mackenzie 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 A1(M) slip roads.

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

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.”