|To:||Selby Fork (SE467298)|
|Distance:||3.2 miles (5.1 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
The A1246 is a section of the former A1 in the West Riding of Yorkshire, replaced by the Darrington to Hook Moor section of the A1(M) in 2005. It consists of the section of former A1 that has not been re-allocated to either the A63 or A162.
The new motorway bypassed an existing high-quality dual carriageway section of the A1 dating from the early 1960s between Darrington, just south of the M62, and Hook Moor, where the route meets the M1 and had been improved to motorway standard several years previously. The old A1 was inadequate for the volume of traffic using it and had what would now be considered a substandard alignment and poor quality junctions. However, the opening of the motorway and consequent rerouting of A1 traffic still left behind a route of considerable size and capacity.
This was dealt with in several ways. At the far northern end of the scheme, the Micklefield Bypass was removed entirely and returned to nature. Between Boot and Shoe and Selby Fork, the A1 had historically formed a multiplex with the A63, and so the route was left to the A63 with some modifications. At the southern end, the road was unchanged and was reclassified as an extension of the A162. This left a section between Selby Fork and Brotherton that was only required for local access and which was not needed for any longer-distance traffic. This is the section that was designated A1246.
At Brotherton, the former interchange between the A1 and A162 has been left unmodified, meaning that when travelling northbound on what is now the A162, traffic wanting to stay on the road must exit and take the sliproad, and the two forward lanes become the A1246.
The road passes Brotherton as a dual carriageway, and then shortly afterwards warning signs appear for the end of the dual carriageway. Two lanes narrow to one and the central reservation ends. From this point onwards, the formation of the road has been changed and the dual carriageway that carried the A1 has been substantially rebuilt.
It is unusual for a modern road scheme to make a transition from dual to single carriageway in this way, by just narrowing down (most examples of this happening are much, much older), but the reason shortly becomes clear. A new roundabout forms a junction with the Old Great North Road (at what was, previously, an entry sliproad) and the roundabout has been fitted entirely within the width of what was the dual carriageway. Bringing the dual carriageway to this point in order to end it would have been a more normal engineering solution, but would have required extra land for a bigger roundabout.
The road continues now as a single carriageway, with wide verges at either side and boundary fences well back, a hangover from the old dual-carriageway alignment. A bridge carries the road over the new motorway.
The next roundabout, at Silver Street, is where the road enters Fairburn. This village historically straddled the Great North Road, and when the trunk road was dualled and upgraded in the early 1960s, it was cruelly denied a bypass - instead, for over 40 years, the dual carriageway shot through the middle of this small village, with the only connecting bridge some way off to the north (although there was a footbridge in the village centre). Today the A1246 still passes through the middle, but now as a much calmer 40mph road with pleasant verges, drystone walls and zebra crossings, meaning the village is no longer held apart by the road. There is still a very visible, broad gap in the houses, though, and it's obvious that something much bigger once came through here.
A third roundabout marks the end of Fairburn, with the road from one side of the village to the other crossing our path, and the A1246 emerges into open countryside again.
From this point the re-engineering is less thorough, and vehicles now travel on the former southbound carriageway. It's clear that the east side of the road has a hard strip while the west side doesn't - the west side bordering what used to be the central reservation - and to the west of the road is a grassy bund with trees and other young vegetation taking hold, which is where earth has been piled up on the former northbound carriageway to prevent its use.
It's not a long way to the end of the road. A side turning towards Ledsham used to be a former northbound off-slip at a GSJ where the A63 was met. The A1246 then curves right and begins descending (this is the path of the former southbound on-slip from the old grade separated junction), finishing at the big roundabout with the A63. To the right is Selby and a junction with the new motorway; ahead the old A1 is now part of the A63.