Mult-million pound Cooper Bridge bypass scheme set to be revealed

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Highways chiefs are close to revealing the route of the massive Cooper Bridge Bypass scheme - and it could be put out to public consultation within weeks.

The revelation comes four months after the scheme was sent “back to the drawing board” after the council got cold feet over the prospect of cutting down ancient woodland to enable the £69.2m project.

The deputy leader of Kirklees Council, Clr Peter McBride, said the plan had been dumped when the authority “learned that we were going to have to knock down half a wood”.

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Woods bordering the A644 Wakefield Road contain the reputed grave of medieval outlaw Robin Hood.

Cooper BridgeCooper Bridge
Cooper Bridge

Coun McBride said chopping down the trees was “unacceptable”.

Now Keith Bloomfield, Kirklees Council’s head of major transport projects, has revealed that a link road option is “still on the table” and that none of the ancient woodland along the A644 Wakefield Road would be affected by it.

However officers have been looking at other options based on “existing highway” and that plans are available to inspect online.

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They are said to be “very close” to developing a scheme between Bradley and Cooper Bridge.

He cautioned: “We are not there yet.

“We are planning to come out to consultation sometime around May/June this year when we’ll consult with the general public on our preferred option.”

He said the matter would be taken to the council’s decision-making Cabinet “around summertime” for final sign-off.

The council unveiled three options for what it dubbed the A62/A644 (Wakefield Road) Link Road in 2018.

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The project, conceived as a congestion-buster, involved the creation of a new relief road and viaduct from Bradley to the A644 Wakefield Road, plus a new roundabout.

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

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

He said: “The big expenditure is going to be on the road which will come from Colne Bridge Road going right across and through next to the White Cross Inn all the way to the motorway, some of which will be on stilts.”

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There was further confusion last winter when Clr McBride said the project had been shelved. He said the council had ditched the notion of “a big roundabout” at Cooper Bridge and that alternatives were being looked at.

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’s head of major projects, Richard Hollinson, confirmed that the authority was still assessing options for the scheme.

He stated: “At this point in time no formal decision has been taken to eliminate any of the options developed to date.”

That was confirmed by Council Leader Coun Shabir Pandor, who said Clr McBride had expressed his own opinions based on the information he had.

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