A £7.5 million roads scheme called the A62 Smart Corridor may not be so smart after all.
Work has been underway since April on the A62 Leeds Road between Huddersfield Ring Road and Bradley Mills.
A major part of the scheme was to help end car park exit gridlock at the Great Northern Retail Park.
On busy weekends and bank holidays drivers have often been trapped in car park queues, unable to escape the retail park.
Kirklees Council pledged that part of the works on the A62 Smart Corridor scheme would put an end to the nightmare on the Great Northern Retail Park. Now it seems that might not be the case.
Under the scheme the old gyratory outside the retail park has been removed and replaced with two junctions.
Key to ending the car park congestion was to build a new entrance access road off Lower Fitzwilliam Street. The idea was cars would come into the retail park in front of the TUI store and there would be extended exit lanes out into Leeds Road.
Back in March, Clr Peter McBride, the then Cabinet member for regeneration, promised an end to the car park congestion before the Christmas rush.
Now the council has revealed the work on the new access road is months behind schedule – and even when it’s all completed it’s unlikely the car park congestion issue will be solved!
In March Clr McBride said the access road would be constructed between June and August and “once completed, the extended exit lanes and new entrance road will improve traffic flow around the retail park.
“Other works will continue beyond October but all improvements around the Great Northern Retail Park itself should be completed well before the Christmas rush.”
Now Kirklees Council has revealed that work has only just started on the access road. The delay was caused because it was decided to carry out sewer and utilities work for the site of the planned University of Huddersfield Health & Wellbeing Academy off Southgate.
The council said that work wasn’t part of the original schedule but it chose “short-term disruption for a longer-term benefit.”
The council issued a press release which said that the A62 Smart Corridor scheme was “progressing well” and was still expected to be completed in Spring 2023.
However, the press release hinted that even when all the works around the Great Northern Retail Park are completed, the car park problems were likely to remain.
The press release says: “The issues around leaving the retail park are because of the car park layout. The work we are doing cannot address that issue as the land is privately owned. The access and exit problems can only be changed by the landowner, the retail park owners.”
Huddersfield Hub asked the council for clarification and a spokesman confirmed that the gyratory/junction improvements won’t end the car park queues unless the car park layout is changed – and the landowner isn’t planning on making changes to the car park.
The A62 Smart Corridor scheme is funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority with a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund.