Work to redesign Knaresborough's busiest junction will 'finally' begin after years of talks
After nearly a decade of deliberations, work will finally begin on re-designing Knaresborough's most congested junction.
In 2010, Bond End was declared an Air Quality Management Area, when it was found to be exceeding acceptable air pollution levels set by DEFRA.
Since then, residents and business owners have been calling for change to ease congestion and improve air quality along one of the key routes into Knaresborough.
But North Yorkshire County Council have this week revealed that the scheme to replace Bond End's traffic light system with two mini roundabouts will begin on Monday morning.
Steve Teggin, business owner and president of the town’s chamber of trade, said: “One of the reasons why Knaresborough and sometimes Harrogate fail to keep pace is because of the red tape and procedures for these things to happen take far too long.
“You go to Leeds and it happens in weeks, here it seems to take years. There is too much consultation and there’s too much getting people’s expert advice and all the rest of it.
“But finally after eight years we are seeing the work happen.”
But inevitably drivers through Knaresborough face major disruption, as the programme of works is scheduled to last for nine weeks.
NYCC’s Executive Member for Highways, Councillor Don Mackenzie said the construction would be in two halves; one for each roundabout.
He added: “During the working day traffic will be controlled by temporary traffic lights, with the option to operate these manually so that any queues are well balanced.
“Any full road closures will be evenings/overnight and diversions will be in place.”
But for Mr Teggin, temporary disruption is a price which must be paid for a better permanent situation.
He said: “It will be a horrible place to be over the next few weeks but the end result will be a much more free flowing junction and the pollution should be manageable.”
Plans to create two mini roundabouts with several zebra crossings on the junction were approved in January, following a consultation in late 2017.
The decision was not welcomed by all residents, some of whom said the removal of traffic lights would make it ‘impossible’ to get out of their drives safely.
But County Councillor for Knaresborough, David Goode, said it was now a case of seeing if the scheme relieves traffic congestion as intended.
He said: “There are still a number of residents along Bond End who are still very unhappy. But we are at a point now where it is going to happen so it is a case of seeing if it relieves traffic flow.
"If residents are having problems getting out of their drives then we need to look at what measures we can implement to mitigate that. I just hope that NYCC are flexible to deal with individual problems in a speedy way.”
The council warned that the work is subject to a number of variable factors and advises residents to keep up to date on the progress of the scheme.