Regional decision-makers have enabled Bradford Council to progress plans for a major highways scheme which aims to cut congestion on Tong Street and also has the potential to help grow the economy of south-east Bradford.
The proposed scheme – estimated to be completed by April 2025 - aims to improve the capacity and efficiency of the most congested section of the A650 on Tong Street, between Knowles Lane and Westgate Hill. Work would include:
- widening the carriageway from one to two lanes in both directions, which will improve traffic flow
- central islands with turning areas
- increased footway space to the north side with a new,fully segregated cycle facilities
- upgrades to pedestrian crossings and signalised junctions, plus new cycle-friendly Toucan crossings
- a review of on-street parking arrangements.
The scheme is estimated to cost £24.49m, of which Bradford Council hopes £20.5m will be met through a bid to the Department for Transport’s Major Route Network (MRN) fund. They are currently waiting for a decision on this.
Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee has today (11 August) agreed to provide £2.53m from its West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund to enable the Council to progress its outline business case to a full business case. This is in addition to £185,000 development funding already contributed by the Combined Authority.
This week’s extra funding will go towards project management, detailed design of the scheme, land acquisition and scheme modelling.
Current users of Tong Street have experienced frequent delays, congestion and outbound journey times doubling during the evening rush hour for many years. These issues are set to worsen if no changes are made.
It is also forecast that the scheme will create over 150 new jobs, seven new businesses, support over 50 new homes and reduce over 34,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. In addition it will provide the area with better transport links to central Bradford and aid the economic growth of the M62 Enterprise Zone sites, for which the Council secured further funding with the Combined Authority in the recently announced growth package from central government.
Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “This scheme will have far-reaching benefits for the south-east area of our district, Tong Street and the city centre, so it is vital that we can make it a reality.
"The further expansion or our cycle network would be another big step towards having quality segregated cycleways throughout the district.This section of road has also been blighted by congested, slow moving traffic for many years so there will be many people who will be happy to see this change.”