Major improvements to the busy road between Huddersfield to Ainley Top roundabout are a step closer with the release of £4m from the funding pot for the major scheme ... and work could start within two years.
The controversial plan – which includes taking land from a number of properties on the route – aims to relieve congestion and reduce journey times along the A629 and will cost just over £12m in total.
The scheme is being funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, which is a package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Kirklees Council is responsible for delivering the scheme and this latest release of funding will enable the authority to put full plans in place for the development, including securing land, detailed design and determining the final options for the improvements.
People will be invited to have their say on the scheme between June 4 and 29 both online and at a series of drop-in sessions. Details of the sessions will be announced shortly.
Kirklees said that a survey with local residents last year identified reducing congestion as the top priority for improving the A629, along with widening the route.
The current plans for the improvements seek to do this by widening certain sections of the road, reducing parking along the route and creating a slip road at Ainley Top to allow traffic for the M62 to bypass the roundabout.
The council is already talking to landowners directly affected by the plans and is working closely with Calderdale Council who are also making improvements to parts of the A629 that fall in their area.
Kirklees Cabinet member for Economy and Infrastructure Clr Peter McBride said: “The improvements we are planning for the A629 will make a huge difference to journey times, air quality and congestion; three things that we know are important to our residents and road users.
“The release of this part of the funding takes us to the final stage of the plans. At the moment we are aiming for the final plans to be approved in early 2020, with construction beginning very soon after.”
Joint portfolio holder Clr Naheed Mather said: “Good local and regional transport links are vital to the development of business and the creation of new jobs. Forecasts show that these improvements could create 1,740 jobs by 2030.
“This strategic approach fits with our broader planning in terms of jobs, homes and the Local Plan. It will improve travel between our towns and neighbouring towns and improve access to employment and training opportunities.”
Letters were sent to the owners of 18 properties along Halifax Road on January 5 saying that their land would be needed “to deliver these benefits to the thousands of people who use this route on a daily basis.”
It said: “At this stage, it is not anticipated that we would need to purchase the whole property. The land we need will mainly consist of parts of gardens and parts of land next to the route.”
The resident include Edgerton pensioner Delia Potts, who lives at the junction of Edgerton Road and Blacker Road and told the Examiner in January that she could lose all but 9ft of her 27ft garden under the plans. Another resident, businessman Bal Khela, said he had planning permission for a detached house on land earmarked to be taken for road-widening.