MINISTER for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Jake Berry MP is today to announce the final go-ahead for Junction 47 of the A1/A59 upgrade as part of his first official tour of North Yorkshire this week.
Not only will the upgrade address existing congestion at the junction, it will also increase its capacity to accommodate additional traffic generated at the new Business Park at Flaxby, which received planning approval from Harrogate Borough Council and has the potential to create 3,000 new jobs.
Funding for the Junction 47 upgrade was originally announced as part of the Local Growth Deal funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in January 2015, following a successful national bid by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Since then, the LEP secured additional funding by working with local and central government partners, North Yorkshire County Council and Highways England, leading to the Minister’s announcement that that the works are approved and will be going ahead.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: "This government is investing billions of pounds in transport across the north to build the Northern Powerhouse and deliver improved journeys for the whole region."
Chairman of the York North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership, Barry Dodd said improving connectivity is one of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s objectives to grow the local economy, the North and internationally. Mr Dodd said:
"We are keen to play our part in the development of the Northern Powerhouse by reflecting the enormous opportunities our rural area plays in its economic growth. Not only does it provide a fantastic leisure destination for our own residents, it also has an enormous visitor economy, alongside growing industries such as agritech, food manufacturing and energy.
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"All of our key partners recognise that improvements need to be made to this junction, to deal with both existing capacity issues, and to accommodate growth in the LEP area. The junction provides access from our key east west corridor to the A1 (M) the major north south national arterial route, and provides access from our area to the rest of the UK and beyond."
Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Carl Les explained that North Yorkshire is highly productive, generating over £13bn of GVA, the measure of the value of goods and services produced, each year. York and North Yorkshire generate £22,353 GVA per head of population, which is more than that of Greater Manchester.
Mr Les said: Our ambition is to continue to increase the number of good-quality jobs and improve access to economic opportunities for people right across the county. Better transport links are vital to realising those ambitions."
During the Minister’s visit, he was also updated on plans for Harrogate’s Station Gateway Project was been indicatively allocated £1million in growth deal funding from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership for the transport element of the scheme.
Minister Mr Berry MP was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth in June this year. He is also MP for Rossendale and Darwen just across from neighbouring Skipton in the LEPs area.
What does the project involve?
- Signal control is proposed for all arms at A1(M) 47 with storage areas created on both the circulatory and approaches through widening.
- Extra lanes would be introduced on both A1(M) exits and the flares improved on both A59 approaches.
- Widening is proposed at discrete locations around the circulatory carriageway in order to create the required additional lanes and stacking capacity.
- North Yorkshire County Council will provide linked traffic signals at the adjacent A59 / A168 3-arm priority junction to the east of Junction 47 at the same time as the A1(M) J47 scheme.
- The installation of traffic lights significantly reduces queuing and journey times at the junction to an acceptable level.