Highway bosses to unveil revised £75m Cooper Bridge congestion relief scheme

Highways chiefs have ditched plans for a “congestion-busting” relief road and flyover to relieve clogged roads at the notorious Cooper Bridge pinch point near Brighouse.

The scheme, dubbed the Cooper Bridge Bypass and set to cost between £69.2m and £77m, has been downgraded in favour of a more modest project.

The cost of the new plan is said to be £75m.

That leaves Kirklees Council facing a potential shortfall as the new proposal, known as the “preferred option” and most recently budgeted at £69.2m, is to be funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

An artist’s impression of the re-modelled Cooper Bridge roundabout and new slip roads set to be put out to public consultation next week

Plans for the scheme have been seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), which understands that three previous options for the so-called A62/A644 (Wakefield Road) Link Road, which were unveiled in 2018, are now off the table.

That means ancient woodland bordering the A644 Wakefield Road – which includes the reputed grave of medieval outlaw Robin Hood – will not be cut down.

Plans to widen the A62 Leeds Road are still set to go ahead, but access to a major new housing estate earmarked for the Bradley Park Golf House – known as a “spur road” – has also been deleted from the project.

The LDRS revealed in March that the route of the massive bypass scheme was close to being finalised.

However there was confusion over whether the 2018 options still formed part of the plan.

They involved the creation of a new relief road and viaduct built on stilts from Bradley to the A644 Wakefield Road, plus a new roundabout.

It meant the purchase and demolition of some homes and businesses along the proposed route as well as the buying up of some “virgin” land.

In 2019 senior councillor Peter McBride said the project had been downgraded and that a “massive gyratory” was “no longer going to happen”.

His comments were later directly contradicted by the officer spearheading the project, who said no formal decision has been taken to eliminate any of the options developed to date.

The council is now focused on using the existing highway. Originally scheduled for completion in 2023, it is now anticipated that work will begin in 2024 with a hoped-for completion date of 2026.

The scheme will go out to consultation next week. Residents will be able to access the project online to give feedback.

A Kirklees Council spokesman said the authority would not comment on the proposals until Monday (June 7), when the consultation exercise goes live.

Tony Earnshaw , Local Democracy Reporting Service

KIRKLEES: Cooper Bridge roads scheme to be unveiled ne