The first phase of road improvements on a major route into Halifax have finally been completed after more than a year.
The improvement works between Salterhebble and Shaw Hill are the first project being delivered as part of the £120m A629 improvement programme, funded by the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund.
Final milestones have been reached with the seeding of the innovative ‘living wall’ alongside Salterhebble Hill, the reopening of Dryclough Lane and resurfacing of 3km of highway that runs from Salterhebble to the new Shaw Hill junction.
Smart ‘mova’ technology will now be installed on all of the traffic signals, which will monitor traffic flow throughout the area and adapt the signals to help keep vehicles moving.
As part of the project, 5,000 tonnes of soil have been removed to widen the highway to four lanes. Two junctions have been remodelled and 6,000 soil bags and seven million seeds have been used to help create a living wall. Pedestrian and cycle lanes have also been included.
During the project, workers had to contend with the discovery of three uncharted stone arch culverts from the time of the industrial revolution, as well as battling against ‘the Beast from the East’ in one of the harshest winters for some time.
Now completed, this first project paves the way for further improvements in the next major part of the scheme – the Calder and Hebble junction. This project will include the demolition of the building on the western side of Salterhebble Hill adjacent to Bankhouse Lane, to create a continuous dual carriageway in both directions through to Elland Wood Bottom and remove the temporary lane merges. Combined, the upgrades will bring significant reductions to journey times and massive opportunities for business growth in Calderdale.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, Coun Barry Collins, said: “The completion of work on Salterhebble Hill is a major milestone in the work to tackle congestion on the A629 between Halifax and Huddersfield.
“The project has been challenging and complex, but I’m pleased that we will now start to see the benefits, with better managed traffic flow and improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.”
Coun Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “The Salterhebble improvements are part of what is currently the largest scheme in our West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund programme, to which we have already committed around £120m of investment.
“The five-phase A629 scheme will help reduce congestion, improve journey times, boost public transport use and improve cycling and walking conditions along the key route between the towns of Halifax, in Calderdale, and Huddersfield, in Kirklees.
“Salterhebble has thrown up interesting challenges and innovative solutions such as the new vertical garden, sowed with 7 million seeds, which will absorb harmful carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.”
The work on the A629 scheme has been funded through West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund. The £1 billion West Yorkshire- plus Transport Fund is being invested over 10 years in more than 30 transport infrastructure schemes across West Yorkshire and York, designed to create around 20,000 new jobs and add £2.4 billion a year to the economy by the mid-2030s.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Fund has been part-funded through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of funding to drive growth and job creation across the Leeds City Region.