Councillors to consider multi-million pound highways project

Projected new benefits for a £47m highways scheme are to be discussed at Bradford Council’s Executive meeting on 7 January.

The Bradford Shipley Route Improvement Scheme proposes measures to cut journey times, improve air quality, reduce road casualties and make the surrounding environments more ecologically friendly.

Estimates show journey times under the new scheme would drop by 8% for cars, vans and lorries, and 12% for buses.

Safety would be improved with a 35% reduction in traffic-related deaths and injuries along the routes. And air quality could be improved to meet strict air quality standards.

The project will support West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport strategy which aims to boost sustainable transport with a 25% projected increase in bus use, 75% rise in train use and cycling increased by whopping 300%.

Traffic congestion is currently a major problem on the routes especially during morning and evening peaks.

This reduces air quality and hampers the economic potential of the area and district. Congestion also makes bus services unreliable causing difficulties in connecting to railway stations.

Proposals seek to address these problems by creating a streamlined high capacity route along Canal and Valley Roads.

A shielded section of the highway could include a series connecting leafy areas for wildlife and pleasant walking paths. Segregated cycle and pathways would be set well away from Valley road improving safety and making them more pleasant to use.

The Bradford Beck would be opened up and ‘renaturalised’ providing better habitats for wildlife and boosting biodiversity. Trees will be planted, naturally cooling and cleaning the air by trapping nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

The upgraded road’s additional capacity will facilitate 3,100 new homes to be developed in Bolton Woods.

The new plans propose to transform Manningham Road into a 20-mph sustainable transport route with traffic calming measures, safer segregated cycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossings.

Attractive leafy landscaped pockets have been designed along the road with new park benches, bins and bike stands.

The Bradford Shipley Route Improvement Scheme includes sections of the A650 Manningham Lane, Keighley Road, Bradford Road, the A6037 Canal Road, Valley Road and A6038 Otley Road.

Bradford Council’s Executive will look at two options, one with a railway bridge between Otley and Valley Road, and one without. An Executive Report suggest the designs including the bridge will deliver slightly better journey times.

Due to its size and complexity, the Bradford Shipley Route Improvement Scheme will probably be introduced in phases with construction starting as early as 2022. The scheme is expected be completed by 2025.

Bradford Council is seeking £47m in funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1bn package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “These proposals are not just about improving journey times along Canal Road – they will deliver wider regeneration to the area.

“Improvements on Canal Road will help us deliver new houses as part of New Bolton Woods, renaturalising the Beck will create a fantastic amenity for people living in the Windhill and Frizinghall areas and the proposals for a cycleway, improved pedestrian crossings and additional greenery along Manningham Lane will be great for communities in Manningham and Heaton.

“We’ve had a huge response to our consultation with the majority of people in favour of the scheme, so we’re excited to develop these proposals further and see what people think of them.”