A Tory councillor has called on Kirklees Council’s Cabinet to pause the controversial £75 million A62 Leeds Road to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme which threatens to cause “chaos” on local roads.
The scheme, which goes back to Cabinet next week, is scheduled for 2024 – at the same time Network Rail is planning the £1.5 billion Huddersfield to Dewsbury TransPennine Route Upgrade.
As part of the rail electrification scheme two railway bridges close to Bradley are set to be replaced, one near the Audi showroom in Leeds Road and the other over Colne Bridge Road, which could be shut completely to traffic for up to two years.
Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) said: “Two bridges are to be replaced and if they suspend rail services that will see rail passengers lumped onto buses and if they are digging up Cooper Bridge at the same time it’s a combination for chaos.”
A public inquiry into the rail scheme is underway but Clr Bolt said: “No-one is going to stop that. It will go ahead.
“So what the Cabinet should do is control what they can control, and that is pause the Leeds Road and Cooper Bridge scheme.
“These two major schemes are running too closely together and the public deserves some breathing space.”
Drivers are already confused over the timings of road closures – and exasperated over delays – caused by current highways reconstruction work ongoing on the A62 between Cooper Bridge and Bradley.
And Clr Bolt has previously expressed concern that a newly-laid road surface – work is due to be completed in December – could be dug up again just two years later.
Clr Bolt succeeded in ‘calling in’ the A62 Leeds Road to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme and a scrutiny panel last week carried out a review.
The panel criticised the Cabinet’s decision-making process and referred the decision back, though the Cabinet can just press ahead regardless.
The scheme has proved controversial as it includes funneling traffic into Oak Road, a narrow residential street linking the A62 with Bradley Road, and making it one-way. Residents are united in their opposition.
At the scrutiny panel Clr Peter McBride, the Cabinet member for regeneration, promised to look again at the proposals for Oak Road but there were no guarantees.
The Cooper Bridge scheme returns to Cabinet on Tuesday November 16 but there is no indication of what councillors may do.
Clr Bolt said: “The residents of Oak Road will have to wait and see whether the Cabinet takes on board the criticism and makes changes or just carries on regardless.”