A scheme to widen one of West Yorkshire’s worst bottlenecks could be completed by 2018 – three years before a plan which could close Huddersfield’s A&E is rolled out.
The project to reduce congestion at the end of the Elland bypass could be finished in two years as part of a wider £94m scheme to improve road links between Huddersfield and Halifax.
Opponents of the Right Care Right Time Right Place plan, which could close Huddersfield Royal Infirmary’s A&E and centralise emergency care at Calderdale Royal Hospital , Halifax; are concerned ambulances could be delayed on the Elland bypass.
Under ‘Phase 1b’ of the A629 improvement scheme, the congested Halifax-bound section of the bypass where two lanes funnel into one will be widened via a multimillion-pound scheme.
The ambitious plan, involving a new bridge over the Calder and Hebble Navigation, could be finished by summer 2018, according to Calderdale Council .
Calderdale Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Clr Barry Collins, told a health scrutiny panel, discussing Right Care Right Time Right Place, that relieving the bottleneck at the foot on the Elland bypass had been a ‘nightmare’ for motorists and transport planners ‘for generations’.
Clr Collins said: “It has been an aspiration for generations to improve that junction and it has been a nightmare.
“There will be a number of spurs across the river and canal involving a bridging operation to Stainland Road.
“There’s major work there.”
Clr Collins added a dual carriageway would be built on the next section of the A629 at Salterhebble Hill.
He said: “It’s very much a scheme to improve connectivity between the two towns and in effect, it will have an effect on travel between the two hospitals.”
But ‘Phase 5’ to improve a similarly congested section of the A629 between Huddersfield town centre and Ainley Top is not expected to be completed until 2025, Kirklees Cabinet Member for Transport, Clr Peter McBride told the panel.