£28m scheme aims to transform travel along key highways corridor

Work is now underway to radically improve the Calder and Hebble junction corridor of the A629 near Halifax – the largest individual civil engineering project ever undertaken to date by Calderdale Council.

Following final funding approvals from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, work can progress on Phase 1b of the A629 improvement scheme, which focuses on the key areas of Huddersfield Road, Stainland Road and Wakefield Road.

This scheme will see the current road layout completely transformed, with improvements to road safety and journey times along the A629.

It will complement the earlier widening from Salterhebble hill to Free School Lane, completed in 2018.

And it will provide two continuous lanes for traffic all the way from Ainley Top roundabout to beyond Calderdale Royal Hospital, removing the current pinch point.

The project aims to improve journey times between Huddersfield and Halifax by up to 30%.

Improving the efficiency of the A629 is forecast to reduce ‘rat-running’ through adjacent communities such as Elland, West Vale, Siddal, Exley, Copley and Skircoat. It will also include improved facilities for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists.

One of the most complex parts of the project will involve the construction of a new road bridge spanning the Calder and Hebble Navigation to a roundabout on Stainland Road.

Initial work is taking place to install the piled foundations for the bridge in the area between the A629 and B6112, near to the canal.

To enable the road to be widened, work is also taking place to demolish the buildings at the junction with Bankhouse Lane and the A629.

Over the next 12 months the project will also involve the demolition of the former Punchbowl pub to enable this section of carriageway to be widened, work to repair and widen the Hebble Brook bridge at Salterhebble, further work to the new bridge and the creation of a roundabout at the junction with Stainland.

This phase of the A629 improvement scheme is due to be finished in 2023. Some elements will be open earlier, such as the new link bridge, which is expected to be operational in mid-2022.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and strategy, Councillor Jane Scullion, said: “This exciting phase of the A629 improvement project is one of the most complex engineering schemes ever carried out by the council.

“The biggest change will be the impressive link road bridge which will be key to improving traffic flow in this area and providing better access to local villages and towns.

“The £28.1m project is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as part of the wider A629 improvement programme.

“It will improve the route between Halifax and Huddersfield, making investment in the area more attractive and supporting our local economy, something which is especially important to the borough’s recovery from the impacts of COVID.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Making our transport network work for people is at the heart of my Mayoral pledges, which is why I’m delighted this scheme will make it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport, as well as reducing journey times for people travelling by car between Huddersfield and Halifax.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, added: “We are pleased to be working with Calderdale Council on this scheme, which will make it easier for people to move around our region.

“It is more important than ever that we continue to invest in a modern, accessible transport network, which supports economic growth by connecting more people with jobs, training and education.”

John Sisk & Son has been appointed as the contractor to carry out the work of the A629 Phase 1b.

Sisk contracts manager. Peter Dawson, said: “We’re pleased with progress so far on the scheme and this next phase marks the start of the many improvements to the A629.

“Our dedicated teams will work with the community to cause as little disruption as possible and we’d like to thank the community and travelling public in advance for their patience while we complete this work.”