Council approves £10m plan for Cooper Bridge anti-congestion scheme

Council chiefs are ploughing ahead with investigations into major improvements to the congested Cooper Bridge junction and the A62 Leeds Road into Huddersfield.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 10:00 am
An artist’s impression of how the Cooper Bridge roundabout near Mirfield could look after a major remodelling designed to cut congestion at the notorious bottleneck

But they have stressed that contentious elements, such as driving cars and HGVs off the A62 and onto a narrow residential street, can be addressed at a later date.

The development will be a disappointment for people living on Oak Road at Bradley, which has been earmarked as the diversionary route for traffic.

Members of Kirklees Council’s decision-making cabinet today (Tuesday) reiterated their approval for staff to draw up a £10m outline business case (OBC) for the project, which is designed to cut congestion, improve air quality and reduce journey times.

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The overall programme, which includes a new roundabout configuration at Cooper Bridge and the widening of the A62, is budgeted to cost £75m.

If it gets the green light, two years of work could begin in the summer of 2024.

Cabinet’s decision comes a fortnight after the scheme was formally “called in” for review at a special meeting of the council’s Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel.

After hearing evidence the panel said it should return to cabinet for reassessment.

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Members said the latest version of the report before them had addressed issues raised by the call-in and that staff had “responded accordingly”.

Senior councillor Peter McBride said: “The thing has been very thoroughly looked at.”

He said the Oak Road element represented “a problem” but that it was “a feature” of the overall scheme. He said it would be subject to “a more detailed examination” and that it would be reappraised.

“At outline business case you are not committing in detail to a scheme. You are committing in principle,” he said.

In their presentation officers said they didn’t know where HGVs could go if the scheme wasn’t investigated. That meant forging ahead with an outline business case, which allows them to explore options.

They also emphasised that the OBC did not represent the final decision on the project.

Council Leader Shabir Pandor said: “This is a big scheme with a lot of detail still to work on.”