A £9m coastal stabilisation scheme to protect the main A174 route between Whitby and Sandsend will be officially opened on Friday, 19 August

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, will conduct the ceremony, which will also be attended by local councillors and representatives of the Environment Agency and contractor Balfour Beatty. 

Mr Goodwill said  “I am delighted to see this major investment in my constituency to protect this vital stretch of coastline and the main road that runs alongside it. As well as protecting the environment, the work will benefit residents, visitors and the economy.”

To coincide with the ceremony, a drop-in exhibition detailing the work that has been carried out will be held at the Pyman Institute, Sandsend, on 19 August between 9am and noon, when members of the public are invited to go to speak to members of the project team, who are keen to hear feedback on the completed project.  

The scheme protects the main A174 route between Whitby and Sandsend. Worn-out coastal defences have been replaced along a 1km stretch of the road where it runs close to the shoreline. 

The work has been funded by £4.5m from the county council and £4.7m from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It entailed replacement of the old concrete defences and stabilisation and redesign of the upper slope above the road. 

As part of this work, additional parking places have been created on the landward side of the A174. 

This project, covering stabilisation of the inland slope and reconstruction of coastal defences, was highlighted as a priority in the county council’s Local Transport Plan for 2011-16. 

The road had suffered a history of landslips and had required the county council to undertake costly repairs over the years. It sits at the top of the coastal defences built in conjunction with the former railway and has a boulder clay coastal slope above it. Over recent winters, the authority increasingly had to carry out urgent repair work to collapses in the concrete defences as well as to slips above the road, requiring closure of the road and traffic management. 

The lower sections of the new defences comprise 450 step units, which were placed using an innovative system that carried the units along a rail built into the defences. This sped up construction and minimised disruption to the local community by reducing the need to access the site with heavy plant or machinery. 

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said:

“Renewal of the protection for this stretch of the coast road is a significant financial commitment from both the county council and DEFRA. This is a major tourist route, so completion of the project is good news for both the local and business community. I am also pleased to say that the scheme has been delivered on budget. 

“The project team, including the council and our contractor, would like to thank the residents, businesses and many friends of Sandsend for the patience, good humour and assistance they have shown during the delivery of this vitally important scheme. It couldn't have been done without your support. While traffic management was needed along stretches of the road as the work progressed, we made every effort to keep disruption to a minimum.”

County Councillor David Chance, local member for Whitby Mayfield cum Mulgrave, said:

“Not only will these works protect this stretch of coastline for many years to come, but during the construction itself care was taken to protect the environment and make the most of local resources. All the material from the old defences has been reused in the new defences, meaning no waste needed to be taken from the site. In addition, local grass and flower seeds have been used to landscape the area.”

Cllr Chance was also pleased with the way local knowledge and experience was taken into account as the scheme progressed. He said:

"This was a major civil engineering project, and the County Council made sure that we assembled the best team possible for the job. Experience of similar works elsewhere around the British coastline was a key consideration. 

“But throughout the project the team has been keen to draw upon local expertise and knowledge, whether that has been through employing local tradespeople and professionals, or simply by listening to local people who have offered their perspectives. I am quite certain that this blend of technical expertise and local knowledge has helped us to improve the project at every stage".

Yorkshire Coast Radio 9th August 2016