Work is underway to speed up the route between Huddersfield and Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax – and drivers are urged to be patient and follow official diversions.

In what is the biggest civil engineering project ever undertaken by Calderdale Council, there will be two continuous lanes on the A629 from Ainley Top to the hospital removing the current “pinch point” which causes delays.

Funding approval from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority means work can now start on the key areas of Huddersfield Road, Stainland Road and Wakefield Road.

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

This section of work will complement the earlier widening from Salterhebble Hill to Free School Lane, completed in 2018.

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.

READ MORE: A629 improvement scheme will mean changes in Lindley including one-way and 20mph zone

One of the most significant and complex parts of the project will involve the construction of a new road bridge spanning the Calder & 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 and will take around three weeks.

Piling work taking place alongside 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 new roundabout at the junction with Stainland Road.

Significant preparation work has been carried out ahead of the works to reduce disruption as much as possible.

Turning restrictions and a number of lane closures are in place for safety reasons though an uninterrupted single lane in each direction will be maintained to minimise congestion. Drivers are being urged to stick to signed diversions.

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.

READ MORE: Cut down speed on A629 but ‘don’t cut down trees’

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration and strategy, Clr Jane Scullion, said: “The £28.1 million project is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as part of the wider A629 improvement programme.

“This 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.

“We understand that there will be disruption around this area whilst works are taking place and ask people for their patience.

“To transform the road network to this extent requires a great deal of major construction work. This has been carefully planned to ensure we can experience the many benefits of this phase of works as soon as possible.”

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.”