Creating £75m Cooper Bridge scheme will involve buying up private land

Highways bosses may have to force private land owners to sell if they are to deliver a £75m “congestion buster” at the Cooper Bridge bottleneck.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 6:00 am
An aerial view of the existing roundabout and junction at Cooper Bridge (Image: Google

They will present their preferred option to Kirklees Council’s decision-making Cabinet next week (Oct 12) with a request for the massive scheme – aimed at cutting congestion, improving air quality and reducing journey times – to be agreed in principle.

Two years of work could begin in 2024.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service can reveal that creating a new, bigger roundabout and widening part of the A62 into three lanes will involve buying up 35 parcels of land in third-party ownership.

Engagement with landowners has been going on for three years though formal negotiations are yet to begin. Should those negotiations be unsuccessful the council will resort to compulsory purchase.

The land in question is:

North of Cooper Bridge junction (at the junction itself and through to the

Three Nuns junction)

Along Cooper Bridge Road

Along Leeds Road between Bradley junction and Oak Road

Along Colne Bridge Road

On the approach to junction 25 of the M62

Agreement at Cabinet will authorise a request for £10m to work up a full business case to develop the scheme, which has been estimated to cost £75.1m.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority will provide £69.3m with Kirklees Council underwriting the £5.8m shortfall.

That shortfall could be partially plugged by money from developers building homes at Bradley Park as well as other A62 schemes.

The project – formally known as the A62 to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme – will turn the existing three-armed signalised roundabout at Cooper Bridge into a large signal-controlled roundabout with additional left turn links “to provide more capacity”.

Railway, river and canal bridges on Cooper Bridge Road between the roundabout and the Bradley junction will all be widened.

Both sides of the highway will become two continuous lanes – with three lanes on the approach to the Cooper Bridge junction.

Vehicles on the A62 traffic travelling from Huddersfield will no longer be allowed to turn left to Bradley or right into Colne Bridge Road at the Bradley junction.

And at the same junction traffic travelling towards Huddersfield will not be able to turn right to go up the A6107 Bradley Road.

Instead it will be funnelled along Oak Road, which will become a one-way through route to Bradley Road.

The Oak Road element has been heavily criticised by local councillors and residents, who said they were “struggling to find any positives” in the council’s plan.

The presentation to Cabinet of the preferred option means previous plans – including for a bypass and flyover over the River Calder, the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the Calder Valley line linking to junction 25 of the M62 at Brighouse – have been eliminated due to environmental impacts.

Traffic engineers say the “congestion buster” at Cooper Bridge could cut journey times by anything from 51 seconds to more than three minutes per vehicle.

After modelling different time periods – traffic peaks in mornings and evenings – they forecast ahead to the opening of the project in 2026 and then a further 15 years to 2041.

Project manager Sarah Kearns previously said: “Across those range of periods and years the time savings vary from about 51 seconds through to three minutes and 11 seconds. They are savings per vehicle travelling through this section of the A62 corridor.

“Specifically in 2026 we see the journey time savings ranging from one minute and seven seconds through to two minutes and 28 seconds per vehicle travelling through.”

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