Appeals for short and long term solutions to relieve the problems caused by repeated flooding on one of North Yorkshire’s main routes are being made to highways officials. 

The A684, which links Northallerton, Brompton and Romanby to the A1 motorway, Bedale and the Dales was closed four times late last year as water engulfed the road at Morton-on-Swale bridge.

Northallerton Town Council is now asking North Yorkshire Council to look at installing electronic signs to warn traffic before they get to the bridge, and examine potential longer term schemes to stop the flooding.

North Yorkshire Council has looked at longer term relief for the road. The Morton Flatts Resilience Scheme report, which was never made public, was produced in 2020/21.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The main A684 road was closed after flooding

A council spokesperson said: "As such it would need to be revisited and costs revised in line with current prices and also taking into account the flooding events that have occurred since the report was written."

In a report to Northallerton Town Council, councillor Paul Atkin said they needed to put pressure on North Yorkshire Council. He added: "As the fastest flowing river in England the River Swale is highly prone to flash floods which consistently, over very many years, lead to the closure of Morton-on- Swale road bridge and adversely affects the lives of many in local communities.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Chaos and confusion at Morton on Swale on the A684

"Serious flooding and road closures occurred in September 2012, December 2015, November 2020 and December 2023. The bridge has also been closed at other times due to flooding with four separate closures during 2023 alone. The last two occasions especially have seen dozens of complaints from local residents.

"Whilst physical alterations to the structure of the bridge are highly unlikely given the lack of any progress by the Highway Authority, a major concern has been the lack of adequate warnings provided to the public in the event of the bridge being closed.

"As previously, many motorists got to the bridge last month from both directions before learning the bridge was closed. Annoying to say the least. The population to the west encompassing Aiskew, Leeming, Bedale, Exelby, Burneston, Carthorpe and more outlying communities totals in the region of 12,000.

"It can be assumed many need to gain access across the bridge to Northallerton for work or shopping. Equally there will be very many people travelling from Northallerton in the other direction especially as the Industrial Estate at Leeming Bar now has 19 businesses, one alone employing around 500 people.

"The current warnings that the bridge is closed are not adequate for people to plan their alternative work and life arrangements. Furthermore NYC Highways do not appear to be very active in updating the online information about the closure of the bridge on their web site.

"As by and large it is the township of Northallerton whose residents are adversely affected, and equally the economy of Northallerton and its businesses when those from the other side of the bridge cannot access the town, then I would urge Northallerton Town Council to press North Yorkshire Council to act in a positive manner with regard to both the immediate installation of modern electronic adequate advance warning signs and to also actively progress the solution of the continuous flooding issues at Morton on Swale bridge.”

Councillor Colin Hutson added: "It is very disruptive for people, for staff, it is a tremendous, tremendous problem."