Kirklees Council is poised to take a major step forward in the exciting Waterfront Quarter redevelopment for Huddersfield.
A £950,000 package of highways works, based in Manchester Road, is due to begin in June of this year.
The scheme will help to prepare the infrastructure for the Waterfront development, which is set to provide a new base for Kirklees College and create hundreds of jobs in Huddersfield.
Included in the works are new traffic lights to reduce congestion; CCTV to increase security and monitor traffic; a 600 metre bus and cycle lane; ‘Real Time’ information in bus shelters so people know when the next bus is coming; and £250,000 of road resurfacing throughout the length of the scheme.
Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for Regeneration (South), said: “This project is about far more than creating a bus lane. It’s a whole package of improvements and it also boosts regeneration.
“We are helping to improve public transport, but the measures are also about long-term planning and are strongly linked to the huge, flagship redevelopment of the Waterfront Quarter.
“The Waterfront development is on a site between Manchester Road, Chapel Hill and the River Colne, so we need to have access in place and be prepared for the extra traffic this important scheme will generate.
“By acting early to provide the right infrastructure, we are being forward-thinking and responsible and we are making sure a problem doesn’t develop further down the line.
“It is common sense to prepare in advance because the Waterfront development is a £175million scheme and the single biggest regeneration project currently ongoing in Kirklees.
“The site will include a superb new building for Kirklees College, 300 new homes, 190,000 sq ft of offices, plus cafes, bars and leisure facilities. It will provide hundreds of local jobs and create a brilliant community for people from far and wide.
“The Highways works that were approved this week are part of the council ensuring that the Waterfront regeneration can run as smoothly as possible.
“Of course there will be shorter-term benefits for road users in a place that has suffered congestion for years, but I hope people also bear in mind the bigger picture – and the need to show potential investors in Huddersfield that we really mean business.
“There have been questions about why the council doesn’t spend this money on fixing potholes, but the simple answer is this – we can’t.
“The funding comes from a government pot which pays for changes and improvements to the transport network in West Yorkshire. Council’s aren’t allowed to use it for running repairs.”
The Manchester Road scheme has been developed in partnership with Metro (the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority) and local bus operator First. It applies to the section of Manchester Road between Huddersfield Ring Road and Longroyd Bridge.
Kirklees Council recently announced that it was releasing an extra £600,000 of funding to deal with road damage caused by the most extreme winter weather for 30 years.
The council is also working to upgrade the road network across the district by cutting journey times, reducing pollution from cars and improving the reliability of public transport.