Call for cabinet to pause £75m Cooper Bridge scheme to avoid 'chaos' on roads

A Conservative councillor has called on Kirklees Council’s cabinet to pause the controversial £75million A62 Leeds Road to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme which threatens to cause “chaos” on local roads.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:00 pm
An artist’s impression of how the Cooper Bridge roundabout near Huddersfield could look after a major remodelling designed to cut congestion at the notorious bottleneck

The scheme is scheduled for 2024 – at the same time Network Rail is planning the £1.5billion Huddersfield to Dewsbury TransPennine Route Upgrade.

As part of the rail electrification scheme two railway bridges will be closed including one in Colne Bridge Road, Bradley, which is a key access route out of Mirfield and into Huddersfield, vital if Cooper Bridge is closed.

The road over the railway is narrow and Colne Bridge Road could be shut to traffic for up to two years.

Coun Martyn Bolt

Coun 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 started in early in November but Coun Bolt said: “No-one is going to stop that scheme. 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 Coun 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.

Coun Bolt succeeded in "calling in" the A62 Leeds Road to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme and a scrutiny panel 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 funnelling traffic onto 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 Coun 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.