YEARS of upheaval lie ahead for motorists in Scarborough after the full extent of engineering works to improve seawater quality emerged.
Part of Marine Drive, one of the town’s main roads, will operate under a one-way system from spring next year and is then expected to shut to traffic completely throughout next winter.
The road will then operate under a one-way system throughout spring and summer 2013 and then either completely or partially close once again during late 2013 and early 2014.
Marine Drive will remain open to pedestrians at all times.
Yorkshire Water has said the closure is necessary so engineers can significantly upgrade their Toll House pumping station on the Drive to make Yorkshire’s bathing waters among the cleanest in Europe as part of a wider £110 million investment.
Lee Pitcher, Yorkshire Water’s bathing strategy manager, said: “It is important to us that we do our best to minimise disruption, but tourism is the lifeblood of Scarborough and if we have the best beaches in Europe that’s a big plus for getting tourists in.
“We don’t think the road will be completely closed for the second winter - that is the worst-case scenario.”
At the Toll House Pumping Station an overflow chamber, a storm water storage tank and a storm water pumping station will be constructed.
The work is intended to reduce the chance of untreated water entering the sea during times of heavy rainfall.
Work will also be carried out at Peasholm Gap, Wheatcroft, Scalby Mills and Burniston in coming years, but no disruption to motorists is expected to be caused in those areas.
The improvements are part of an ambitious bid to make bathing water off the Yorkshire coast the only in England and Wales to be ranked in the top category when new European bathing water quality legislation comes into force in 2015.
The extent of the proposed works emerged this week at a Yorkshire Water event held at the Royal Hotel.
At the event, Mr Pitcher added: “We have to do a huge amount of work and there will be work on Marine Drive. We are working with Scarborough Council and Welcome to Yorkshire to understand the best times to complete the work.
“People are quite rightly worried about disruption. Where possible we are trying to avoid work during major events.”
Guilian Alonzi, who owns the Harbour Bar, discussed his concerns with Yorkshire Water representatives at the Royal Hotel consultation.
He said: “The final outcome will be terrific for Scarborough but I am concerned that on top of other inconveniences this is another thing that will make life difficult until 2015.
“It’s going to spoil my journey to work along Marine Drive. We’ve had work on Marine Drive in the past by Yorkshire Water and Scarborough Council when they built the sea wall. Now we’ve got a third inconvenience.
“I’ll try to focus on the end result but you’ve got to ask yourself whether in five or 10 years they will dig it all up again?”