Words: Chris Young, local democracy reporter
A SCHEME to reduce congestion on one of the main routes between Bradford and Leeds has received a multi-million pound injection.
Work to the A647 Corridor – which runs from Thornbury Roundabout, past Dawsons Corner in Pudsey to the Armley Gyratory – will include the creation of new bus priority works that will shave up to six minutes off bus journeys.
At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee members agreed to release £14 million funding for the scheme to progress.
In total the works will cost £19.6m – £3.7m more than the original budget.
The rise in costs of the scheme was due to “changes in the preferred retaining wall type on Armley Road, increased preliminary costs, additional statutory service diversion requirements, as well as the undertaking of further design and modelling work in response to stakeholder feedback received during consultation”.
As well as the introduction of bus lanes there will be new bus stops and better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians using the route – including new pedestrian crossings.
There would also be improvements to the existing Ledgard Way junction in Armley.
A report to the committee said:
“The aim of the scheme is to transform bus to an attractive and reliable transport choice for all users.”
Andrew Norman, Programme Manager, told members that improving bus times on the route would also improve bus punctuality, and this would in turn encourage more people to use public transport instead of cars on the route.
Walking and cycling facilities, including wider footpaths on sections of the road and an expansion of the CityConnect segregated cycle route to provide a better link between Bradford and Leeds for cyclists. He said:
“The work will reduce bus journey times by five minutes in the morning and six minutes in the afternoon.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds Council’s Executive for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development, said:
“Not only is this reducing bus journey times, it is making services more reliable and cutting congestion on one of the busiest routes between Leeds and Bradford.”
Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, Executive for Planning, Transport and Regeneration on Bradford Council, said:
“This is a good scheme to move forward. I’m pleased to see the creation of new bus lanes. We talk about how we need to beat congestion by shifting to rail travel, but bus routes are also important for getting cars off the road. Anything that helps reduce congestion for buses is important.”
Work on some sections of the route began last year, and the entire project is due to be completed by July 2022.