The first phase of the A646/A6033 Corridor Improvement Programme centres on Todmorden and work will now get under way in earnest.
Temporary traffic lights which were put in place at all three major road junctions in Todmorden town centre, which were not activated over the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday, will now be in operation but only when necessary and will be manned in peak hours, says Calderdale Council.
Drivers have expressed frustration with the traffic lights on social media but while their will be some short term pain the council says there will be long term gain.
In the long run the programme, being delivered by the council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, aims to improve journey times, reduce congestion and support active travel on and around one of the busiest routes in the borough.
Key long-standing issues it aims to address include congestion, especially at peak times, and another goal is to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
Initial work centres around Todmorden Town Hall, at the heart of the town, and will involve junction remodelling to accommodate improved pedestrian facilities, as well as improvements to paving and bus stop facilities.
Specific works include relaying Water Street with stone setts and flags to complement the remainder of the street and partial pedestrianisation with restricted vehicular access during the daytime – much of this work has been completed prior to the Bank Holiday.
There will be a new zebra crossing on Halifax Road to the east of Bridge Street – and replacing the current Brook Street crossing – and a new signalised crossing from the Town Hall to the bottom of Ridge Road/White Hart Fold.
Remodelling of the traffic islands around the main Halifax Road/ Burnley Road/ Rochdale Road roundabout will improve entry and exit for vehicles, says the council, and the kerb line outside Todmorden Town hall will be realigned and repaved with Yorkshire stone.
The council expects these initial works should be completed by mid-June.
Following this, further work will take place, including footway and side junction improvements between the Town Hall and Lidl supermarket on Halifax Road, including a new signal crossing at Lidl.
The council says improved bus passenger facilities will also be installed, including real time information at the bus station, as well as the relocation of a number of bus stops to allow for upgrades to waiting and information facilities.
Work to enhance the historical aspects of the town will also be carried out, including the relaying of streets around the Town Hall, including Bridge Street and Calder Street, with stone setts and flags.
This will also see partial pedestrianisation to remove vehicles from the area during the daytime.
In all, the work is programmed to continue until 2023 and the temporary traffic lights are in place to allow the work to be carried out safely, says the council.,
To reduce disruption as much as possible, these will only be in operation when necessary and will be manned during peak hours.
Pedestrian access will be maintained at all times, says the authority.
A separate programme of works will support work to deliver a “mobility hub” in the town, including cycle parking, electric vehicle charging and a car club space at the railway station.
The council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said ultimately people would feel the benefit.
“The works being carried out in Todmorden are part of a wider programme of improvements which will transform this busy route and bring a number of benefits for those living, working or travelling in and around the upper Calder Valley.
“The improvements are initially focused around the Town Hall area and will not only improve accessibility but also enhance the heritage aspects of this historical area of the town centre.
“Work has been carefully planned to minimise disruption as much as possible and traffic management will be used only when necessary, as work moves around the town centre,” she said.
More information about the programme and regular updates on work can be found online at https://www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk/projects/a58a672-and-a646a6033-improvements as they go forward.
The works have also been welcomed and commented on by Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin.
“It’s great to see work has started on these improvements, which will help transform travel around Todmorden by reducing journey times and congestion, while also making it easier for people to walk, cycle and use public transport.
“Improving our transport network and connecting more people with the places they need to go is at the heart of our work to make West Yorkshire an even better place to live, work and flourish,” she said.