Drivers face frustration for another six months as the multi-million pound scheme to widen the A629 at Salterhebble Hill is not expected to be completed until early 2019 after encountering some major challenges.
This is still ahead of the contractual deadline of March 2019, but back in January work, with roadworks causing major delays at times, was still on course to be completed this summer, 12 months after it began. Since then the Calderdale Council scheme, which includes widening Salterhebble Hill to four lanes, installing new traffic light technology and improving facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, has hit complications.
These have arisen following discovery of three uncharted stone arch culverts, thought to have originated from the industrial revolution, and work being hampered by severe weather brought to Calderdale by “The Beast From The East” in February and March.
Thousands of gallons of water have had to be redirected, while many cellars and areas of unstable ground have also been encountered during the hillside excavation.
These issues mean expected delivery of this part of the project will now be early next year. Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Councillor Barry Collins (Labour, Illingworth and Mixenden), said: “The overall A629 scheme is an immensely complicated project – likely to be the most ambitious highways scheme undertaken in Calderdale since the building of the Burdock Way flyover, around half a century ago. Contractors are working as quickly as possible to complete the Salterhebble element of the project to a high standard.”
Once complete, the overall A629 project is expected to reduce Huddersfield to Halifax journey times by up to 30 per cent. Funded through West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund the scheme has so far involved removing 5,000 tonnes of material to broaden the road with more than 3,000 metres of steel soil nails screwed into the rock to secure the remaining hillside.
The main project, due to start late 2019/early 2020 and involves the long-awaited remodelling of Calder and Hebble junction.