Cooper Bridge traffic-busting scheme scaled back as planners reveal five year wait

Cooper Bridge in Mirfield
Cooper Bridge in Mirfield

A congestion-busting bypass for traffic-clogged Cooper Bridge will not happen for at least five years, planners have revealed.

A new relief road and viaduct for the area around the Cooper Bridge roundabout, which serves Huddersfield, Mirfield and Brighouse, was announced in December.

It came with a £69.2m price tag.

Described as “ambitious and transformational” by transport chiefs and planners, it was designed to reduce traffic on both the A62 Leeds Road and the A644 Wakefield Road serving Huddersfield and Brighouse, cut journey times and improve air quality.

It also sought to provide 1.5km of new road and changes to 2.5km of current highway.

Senior figures with Kirklees Council released three design options for the project – known formally as the A62/A644 (Wakefield Road) Link Road – which were put out to public consultation.

It was envisaged that construction work on the four-phase programme would begin in 2021 and finish in 2023.

The council is now looking at a longer-term delivery for the scheme, which is likely to be smaller in scale.

Senior councillor and Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council, Clr Peter McBride, said a big gyratory as originally planned was “no longer going to happen”.

He added: “There will be something of a gyratory, which will be relatively modest.

“The big expenditure is going to be on the road which will come from Colne Bridge Road going right across and through next to the White Cross Inn all the way to the motorway, some of which will be on stilts.

“That was not the intent originally. It was going to be a massive gyratory. It’s a more modest one now.

“That in detail will not be delivered for well over five years – maybe five or seven years – but it is in the programme.”

Money for the scheme had been allocated by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), a group of leading councillors and officers from West Yorkshire councils, plus York, that works on major infrastructure projects.

WYCA has accepted Kirklees’ alternative scheme and the changes that it encompasses.

Councillor McBride said officers in Kirklees had consulted with colleagues in neighbouring Calderdale as much of the construction work involved would be on the Calderdale side of the boundary.

It also impacts on congestion around junction 25 of the M62 and will have a bearing on the 4,000 homes scheduled to be built in Brighouse and the big Local Plan development – the Bradley Urban Extension – earmarked for Bradley Park Golf Course.

“It will be done in sufficient time to meet the demands that we know we are placing on the network, and particularly with Bradley,” said Clr McBride. “You can’t built [at] Bradley without adequate infrastructure.

“Rather than try to circulate all the traffic around this great gyratory [our engineers] have tried to move the traffic to disperse it.

“Some of it will be handled down at Cooper Bridge, some of it on this [new] road and then they’ve got lead-off roads at Bradley, which will cope with the Bradley development 10 years on.

“All of the pressures that are created will be resolved by that network that we’re going to create.

“When you’re planning these things you can’t do it in isolation, assuming all the traffic is going to fall off the edge of the earth when it goes outside the borough.

“This is an attempt to cope with all of the consequences.”