The Ferrybridge to Hook Moor section was substantially defined by physical constraints, environmental considerations and the need to achieve a safe alignment. The southern section of the route deviated substantially from the existing A1 corridor, as improvement ‘on-line’ would cause extensive demolition of property in Ferrybridge.
The new motorway followed the line of the A1 before veering off to avoid the Neolithic Ferrybridge Henge, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Further north the route passed through the eastern side of Fryston Park, a former deer park, with the loss of part of the woodland designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Substantial landscaping was necessary in this area to mitigate the effects of the new road.
After crossing the navigable River Aire, the route crossed the Brotherton Ings Ash Lagoons, which contain a depth of almost 20 metres of ash waste from the Ferrybridge Power Stations and required substantial engineering works to stabilise the ash to support the motorway.
Routing the alignment over the ash lagoons and by-passing Fairburn to the east avoided the RSPB Nature Reserve at Fairburn Ings. This reserve is the most important ecological resource in the area and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
From Fairburn to Selby Fork the route passes through open agricultural land but in cutting to reduce the impact on the landscape.
North of Selby Fork the route rejoins the existing A1 remaining mainly in cutting as far as the Boot and Shoe Junction. Thereafter the route re-crosses the A1 to pass Micklefield to the east of the existing A1.
A junction links the new motorway to the A63 Trunk Road, and a substantial ‘free-flow’ interchange west of Ferrybridge Power station links the new motorway to the M62.
In addition to benefits to the road user, this scheme benefits the communities of Ferrybridge, Brotherton and Fairburn by taking traffic away from their centres. At Micklefield the road is some 50 metres further away from the village.