Monday, December 6, 2021
HomeNewsWest Leeds: Council roadworks co-ordination is criticised - updated

West Leeds: Council roadworks co-ordination is criticised – updated

Words: Richard Beecham, local democracy reporter

A Calverley & Farsley councillor has criticised the planning of road improvement schemes around the city, claiming he has “lost confidence in the council’s ability to co-ordinate”.

Work being coordinated by Leeds City Council is expected to see around £20m of road improvements at busy Dawsons Corner.

But the roadworks, expected to last well into next year, are beginning to cause traffic congestion on the major Leeds-to-Bradford thoroughfare, leading to criticism from one of the council Labour administration’s biggest opponents.

“Traffic congestion is very bad,” said leader of the Leeds City Council Conservatives group Coun Andrew Carter. “There seems to be a woeful lack of planning on a lot of these highways schemes. Even down to having to cone off the carriageway when grass cutting is carried out.

“Grass cutting in Leeds has been shambolic to say the least. It was left too late on the ring road, some junctions’ visibility was compromised because the grass was so high.

“This coincides with the interminable Openreach work and gas works – in the days of modern era of swift communication, it staggers me that this stuff can’t be accommodated in a more efficient fashion, you get the impression that some people in authority don’t give a damn.

“It causes pollution and affects the economy, which we can little afford. The lack of planning is quite horrendous – a whole series of delays on the road network Dawson’s corner is a classic example.”

The £20m Dawson’s Corner scheme will reputedly provide a “fully remodelled and enlarged signalised junction”, as well as improved cycling and walking facilities. It is expected to be completed in 2023.

It is hoped that the improvements will eventually reduce peak hour bus delays at the junction, reduce air pollution caused by standing traffic, and to increase capacity at New Pudsey station park and ride site.

Coun Carter, however, believes more planning is needed to go into co-ordinating projects in the west of Leeds, adding:

“We seem to lurch from one scheme to another, interminably causing traffic delays on what is already a congested junction which at peak times is over capacity.

“There is going to be a major junction improvement scheme there over the next 18 months. A lot of these things should be rolled up into one and get the congestion over and done with, and not to lurch from one to another.

“You have got the City Connect issues, where work is progressing from Armley onwards, then we have got the large capital scheme – the roundabout itself. I have urged them for 18 months to co-ordinate things in a more efficient manner. Let’s not do works one after the other when we could combine them in one programme.

“Whatever the highways department say, there will be wasted resources and some work will be disrupted because of additional work. I have lost confidence in the council’s ability to properly coordinate.”

UPDATED 24/8/21: A Leeds City Council spokesperson rebutted Cllr Carter’s accusations and said:

“An incredible amount of detailed planning goes into coordinating all the infrastructure, improvements and utilities work across Leeds’ roads network to minimise disruption.  While work progresses to secure the funding for the Dawson’s Corner junction improvements, other essential works needed to be completed in the meantime.

“Wherever possible, work is undertaken off peak, overnight, at weekends or during school summer holidays. Some very significant schemes have been completed in the last 18 months when traffic flows were much reduced.

“Corridor bus improvement schemes such as the A647 Stanningley Road, will benefit all users in the longer term but construction timing is dependent on a number of complex deadlines and funding limitations from government. Every year over 26,000 permits for maintenance works and approximately 900 road closures are coordinated by our experienced and dedicated team to reduce impact on Leeds residents and road users.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Cllr Carter for expressing what many people have been thinking for months. An example is at Hough Lane, Bramley, where the council recently carried out top dressing of the road surface only for the gas contractors to come along 2 weeks later and dig it all up. It really beggars belief that LCC cannot coordinate these roadworks …… or does the phrase organising a drunken get together in a brewery come to mind???

  2. Well said Cllr Carter. I think there is a conspiracy between LCC Highways and the Labour Controlling Group to enforce turning us all into cyclists.I have no intention of doing this at age70.
    The whole city seems to be virtually gridlocked by the number of works, presumably licensed by the council at the same time. Whichever route you choose works have been permitted by the Council. Try going east around the Ring Road from Dawson’s Corner and every section is obstructed right round to the Harrogate road and beyond. Why is the whole eastbound lane shut off from Rodney roundabout to Horsforth for a few yards of works just west of the roundabout?. Health and Safety excessive ness.
    What’s more, very few of these works have anybody working. Contractors seem to be allowed to dig up and then leave for weeks and complete at their convenience, at inconvenience to everybody else.
    Highways need to control these works to ensure alternative routes are not all dug up at the same time and contractors must follow very tight timescale for completion and not be allowed new works anywhere else in the City until a current site is completed.
    Come on Highways! Tighten things up, coordinate and enforce.
    You and the contractors are damaging this City

    • I am usually quite laid back about roadworks, but I totally agree with Rob and Lynne. I am so frustrated. This lack of planning is a disgrace. Boris is throwing money at so many local authorities, which is then wasted.
      On the 23 August 2021 I travelled across Leeds to Harehills. I went through six separate roadworks, including the A64 York Road improvements. All are possibly necessary works. However, only one site had workmen visible on it.
      My main grip is about the condition of the road surface when this work is ‘finished’. A good example of this is Upper Armley Town Street. It’s like an obstacle course with added people…

  3. I usually don’t agree with a word of what Carter says, he’s a political animal at the best of times and the wrong colour (blue) for my liking. Always trying to point score.
    Putting our political differences and everything else aside I’m mortified to say that I find it difficult to disagree with him on this occasion. I live in Calverley and getting here from Leeds City Centre is a nightmare. Gridlock everywhere. The council’s highways department seems to be getting things very badly wrong and need holding to account.

  4. Once again I notice carter is complaining about other people’s attempts to improve the traffic flow (no mention of the near one point five million made by the charity from the sale of the land at Dawson’s corner or how the money will be spent.

  5. It is not just Dawson’s Corner .Morley is all but isolated .
    The shambles in Morley Bottoms has forced all traffic onto the only road left to access the town(,it is still not finished,) center + British gas have created a mess on the only road from Leeds into the town.
    I agree with every one else ,there is no planning and no forward looking as to the consequences of road closure.

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