- Replacement of the A639 Park Road / retail park / Pontefract park and racecourse roundabout with a new 4 arm traffic signal junction. This will improve access for walkers and cyclists crossing the A639. The new layout will also provide improved access to and from the park and help buses through the junction.
- Improved walking and cycling environment on the A639 Park Road.
- Improved cycle route between Pontefract town centre and junction 32 retail park/ Xscape either by improving the existing off-road route or by developing a new route part of which runs next to the A639 Park Road.
- New bus priority measures at Park Lane Junction and New Racecourse Junction.
What is the ‘Corridor Improvement Programme” (CIP)?
The Corridor Improvement Programme (CIP) is a programme of low and medium cost highway works on strategic highway corridors on the Key Route Network (KRN).
CIP aims to deliver benefits for all road users with an emphasis on reducing journey times, in order to make it easier for people to get around the area and travel to work. The aim is also to improve air quality and contribute towards tackling the climate emergency.
Eight schemes are currently part of the CIP programme, including the A639 Park Road in Pontefract.
For more information on CIP2 schemes, please visit www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/projects/west-yorkshire-plus-transport-fund/corridor-improvement-programme-phase-2/
What is being proposed?
Delivery of the A639 Park Road corridor scheme is a key element of the strategy to provide the Pontefract and Castleford with the infrastructure it needs to support development of the area.
Proposed improvements include:
Who is responsible for delivering the scheme?
The scheme is being delivered by Wakefield Council in partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The Combined Authority works with Local Authorities and businesses across West Yorkshire and York to create economic growth through large and small scale infrastructure projects such as this.
What is the total cost of the scheme?
A high level costing exercise undertaken at the previous stage of scheme development estimated the scheme cost to be approximately £11m. However, at this stage funding to deliver the schemes has yet to be secured.
The reason for the plans
- Junctions require changes to layouts to reduce queues and delays
- Poor walking and cycling provision and experience
- Congestion especially during evening peak and weekend events
- This road will experience large increase in demand due to nearby housing and leisure developments.
- There are no bus lanes or other priority measures for buses along the corridor
- Air and noise pollution
- Minimise congestion at a key junction on the Park Road Corridor (that will benefit all road users)
- Encourage a shift towards more walking and cycling and the use of public transport
- Improve bus journey times and bus reliability on the route
- Support future developments near the A639 Park Road
- Improve air quality by reducing emissions
- Improve access to employment and education centres via sustainable modes of travel
- bus lanes (peak hour only or all day),
- bus only streets,
- bus gates
- priority at traffic signals (using electronic detectors to detect buses as they approach traffic signals to allow the green time to be changed to get buses through the signals “first time”) .
Why do we need to do something?
There are several current and future transport related problems and issues identified on the A639 Park Road route:
Without an intervention all the identified problems will worsen in the future, potentially constraining investment and growth in Pontefract and Castleford. Delivery of the A639 Park Road corridor improvement is a key element of the strategy to provide the two towns with the infrastructure they need to support growth. It will maintain a satisfactory level of highway performance on the Key Route Network by minimising congestion, providing infrastructure to support modal shift towards more sustainable modes such as walking, cycling and public transport, thus improving journey times and improving journey quality for these modes, and providing capacity for growth.
What do you hope to achieve by making the improvements?
The A639 Park Road scheme aims to:
What do you mean by “bus priority”?
“Bus priority” is a term used to describe measures put in on roads to allow buses to progress along the road network more freely by allowing them to bypass queues of other traffic (cars, vans and HGVs). Such measures are usually used, where capacity on the road is limited and there is a “pinch point” on the network which cannot easily be removed. Bus priority makes best use of the available space by allowing buses to bypass the queue (1 bus can carry up to 70 passengers) whilst not delaying traffic any longer than would be the case otherwise. A queue in 2 lanes would still need to merge in turn to get past the point where only 1 lane is available.
Bus priority can be provided by measures that include
In the right location a well-designed bus lane will potentially encourage more bus use, but not generate significant additional delay for other road users
On the approach to traffic lights the bus lane typically ends before the junction at a point where a bus joining the traffic queue would be able to get through the junction in the first period of green time provided by the traffic lights. In some cases a so called “bus gate” is provided with traffic signals to control traffic at the point where the road narrows from two lanes to one. This allows buses to join the queue on approach to the junction, without having to merge with other traffic. This usually uses detectors to change the bus signal to green as the bus approaches.
On Park Road the railway bridge creates a “pinch point” just south of De Lacy Way that restricts the road to 1 lane in either direction. To remove this constraint by widening the bridge (or providing a second bridge nearby to add extra lanes), would be very expensive and is far in excess of the available budget for this project. Therefore bus priority measures have been considered for Park Road.
How would the proposed options work on Park Road?
Two alternative options to provide bus priority are presented for Park Road, Pontefract.
In option 1, two short sections of bus lane are proposed that would operate 24 hours a day. This would allow buses to bypass queues on the approach to the Park Lane junction (travelling north towards the motorway) and between Park Lane and the new junction layout at the Racecourse / Retail Park. The bus lanes would finish before the junctions. At both junctions cars / other vehicles would be allowed into the left hand lane shortly before the junction to allow vehicles to turn left.
The bus lanes would allow buses to bypass queues on these short sections of Park Road.
In order to maximise the benefits to buses electronic detectors (“electronic means”) would also be installed that would detect when a bus was approaching the traffic lights. This would allow buses to be given a green light (or the length of time that the light was on green to be extended to allow bus to get through the junction “first time”) to reduce delay for bus passengers .
In option 2, no bus lanes are proposed. Bus priority is only provided by using detectors (“electronic means”) to detect when a bus was approaching the traffic lights at Park Lane and at the new junction layout at the Racecourse / Park Road. Other traffic including cars, vans and HGVs would be allowed to use both lanes to travel north towards the motorway. Traffic would merge back from two lanes to one at a point just north of the Princes Drive traffic lights.
Why are you proposing to replace the existing roundabout at the racecourse / Pontefract Park/ Park Road retail park with a revised layout that is controlled by traffic lights?
The existing roundabout experiences problems with queuing at peak times on weekdays and at the weekend in particular. There are particular problems for vehicles exiting the park / Aspire leisure centre and the retail park accesses. Traffic signals are able to provide a dedicated phase during which vehicles would be able to exit from the park and retail park approaches to the junction.
Existing crossing facilities for people attempting to walk and cycle across the main road between the park and the retail park are poor. It is not possible to provide safe, signal-controlled crossings at the point that walkers and cyclists would want to cross, without revising the layout of the junction and removing the roundabout.
Traffic modelling has been undertaken that shows that with existing traffic levels the revised layout can operate better than the existing roundabout, with less delay and provide benefits for bus users, cyclists and walkers.
Why aren’t there any alternative options for the racecourse roundabout?
Extensive work has been undertaken to design and model the operation of alternative junction layouts.
An option was tested that kept separate accesses for the retail park and Halfords on the eastern side of the junction. Each additional access imposes additional delay onto traffic on the main A639 Park Road. The traffic modelling concluded that this option would cause an increase in delays that was unacceptable.
The presented option is the only option that is predicted to be able to accommodate existing and future traffic levels, without increasing delay significantly.
Timescales for delivery
What are the timescales for delivering the scheme?
Subject to the successful completion of the consultation phase, an Outline Business Case is intended to be submitted in October 2021.
Subject to further funding being secured after the OBC submission, work will continue to prepare detailed designs, finalise costs and appoint contractors.
Why isn’t funding allocated to deliver the scheme yet?
There is currently no funding allocated to deliver the identified improvements once the Outline Business Case document (OBC) has been submitted. The A639 Park Road corridor is on a “reserve list” if more funding becomes available.
The Corridor Improvement Programme is one part of the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund package of schemes across the wider West Yorkshire area.
The other corridor in the Wakefield District that forms part of CIP (the A638 Doncaster Road) has been allocated funding, subject to successful submission of the OBC. If the A638 scheme or others across West Yorkshire are found to be undeliverable, then funding will potentially become available.
If the OBC is approved later in 2021 and CIP funding is still not available alternative funding opportunities will be sought.
Reserve schemes such as this are developed so we have schemes ready to submit when new funding opportunities come forward. Your views and these plans will help us have a scheme ready when funding is available.
When will you have the detailed design/final plans?
Timescales for A639 Park Road are dependent on if / when funding is made available.
Will there be any disruption for access to the area during construction?
We currently expect construction to start in 2023 and finish in 2024. Once we have more detailed designs a contractor will be appointed who will firm up the construction dates. We will work closely with the contractor to make sure that the impact on all users, local residents and businesses is as small as possible, but there will be some disruption from road works. We will work closely with businesses and communities most affected to ensure all works are done with the minimum possible impact.
How will these proposals affect parking spaces, loading or drop-off for local businesses and Blue Badge parking?
This project is still at an early stage, so some of the detail of how any changes will affect specific parking or loading bays is not known yet.
We know that there are many businesses both big and small along the route and each may have its own arrangements in terms of loading and unloading. The consultation gives business owners and those serving businesses a chance to comment on the proposals and identify where, if anywhere, they have concerns relating to this issue.
The feedback we receive will be used to shape and further develop the proposals in the next design stages. If the proposals change significantly then further consultation will be required with stakeholders and the public.
Will COVID-19 restrictions have an impact on the delivery of the project?
By the time that the project has been completed, we expect that the way people get around will be back to how it was before COVID-19. If possible, we hope to be able to arrange drop in sessions at key locations on the corridor. The details of any drop sessions will be publicised using the Wakefield Council Facebook page and via updates to this page. Please check the webpage regularly for updates.
The funding and decision-making processes
Who is paying for the improvements? Where is the money coming from?
The improvements on the A639 Park Road corridor are planned as part of the Corridor Improvement Programme Phase 2, which is funded by the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund (WY+TF).
The WY+TF is a £1bn investment and a 20-year commitment for the Leeds City Region, aimed to support the development of a transport infrastructure fit for the 21st century. This funding was secured by the LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal in 2014 to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region
The Transport Fund is being used to make major improvements to motorway access, orbital roads (also knows as ring roads), improvements on key corridors for better public transport options into our urban centres, increase capacity on key road and rail links between district hubs, and enhance rail stations.
For more information on West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund please visit this link: www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/projects/west-yorkshire-plus-transport-fund/
Please note, as mentioned above, there is currently no funding allocated to deliver the identified improvements. The A639 Park Road corridor is on a “reserve list” if more funding becomes available.
Can the money be spent on other things? (e.g. bus services, other projects)
The funding allocated to this scheme will not be able to be spent on any other proposals or schemes.
What is the West Yorkshire Combined Authority?
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority was formed in April 2014 to be the driving force for economic growth across the Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale and Wakefield districts and the City of York Council area. The West Yorkshire Combined Authority brings together key decision-making powers into a single body.
To find out more visit: www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk (opens in a new page)
- Twitter: @WakefieldMDC
- Facebook: search for @mywakefield on Facebook or messenger.
- Completing our survey here: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/a639
- Asking a question in the question and answer (Q&A) section of the page
- Sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Writing to us to our free post address (no need for a stamp): FREEPOST Consultation Team (WYCA)*
Who can take part in the public consultation? Can I let other people know about it?
We welcome the opinions and feedback of anyone. Whether you live or work in the area or just travel through your views, opinion and insight is valuable to us to shape our project.
Please share the link www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/a639 with anyone you think would be interested in taking part.
If you intend to submit a joint response on behalf of a group/organisation, please share the link with your colleagues/members so they have the opportunity to provide an individual response, should they wish to do so.
What will the personal information I provide be used for?
All personal information (such as age, postcode, gender) you provide will be anonymised and only used for analysis of the key findings and trends in this consultation. When we look at the feedback, we separate it by things like age and gender which helps us to understand how ideas may affect different groups of people. This helps us to develop our ideas. You can read our Privacy Notice by clicking on this link (opens in a new tab).
How do I keep up to date with the A639 Park Road, Pontefract, Corridor Improvement Programme?
Provide your contact information by clicking on the ‘sign up’ banner on the side of the project page. You will receive information by email about the project.
For social media updates on this project and other schemes being delivered by Wakefield Council, follow us on:
How are we making this consultation accessible during COVID-19?
Unfortunately, due to some restrictions in line with social distancing still being in force, we are unable to hold any drop-in events or do other face-to-face consultation. We are taking steps to make sure people in the local community know about the consultation and can have their say by putting up posters, posting leaflets and by providing information to Local Ward Councillors.
If possible we hope to be able to arrange drop-in sessions at key locations on the corridor. The details of any drop sessions will be publicised using the Wakefield Council Facebook page and via updates to this page. Please check the webpage regularly for updates.
When can I take part?
The engagement is open from July 7th to August 4th 2021.
How can I take part?
You can take part by:
*Please note that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of our staff are working from home and therefore there will be significant delays in receiving any postal contributions. It is strongly recommended that you contact us by email address or using our online survey.
What will you do with the results?
Your comments will help inform the current plans and provide an opportunity to identify any issues that we are not aware of. The Full Outcome Report for the project will be published on the engagement page: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/a638