What is the proposed scheme concept?

    The A62 to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement Scheme concept is a series of highways improvements to the Bradley and Cooper Bridge junctions and surrounding roads. It’s designed to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion around the Cooper Bridge roundabout, including providing better access to Huddersfield and the M62.

    Why do we need to do something?

    The Council has a statutory duty under the Traffic Management Act to consider options that improve traffic flow. The Cooper Bridge junction is one of the key routes into Huddersfield, to and from the M62, Dewsbury and, our closest city, Leeds. This area is one of the busiest in the district for all types of transport with no capacity  to accommodate more traffic unless we make changes. The existing road network is unable to cope at peak times, which is leading to significant delays and congestion. When the current issues are added to the estimated natural growth and future development needs it becomes clear that something needs to be done.

    What will the scheme involve?

    We have considered numerous options in an attempt to address the existing issues in the Cooper Bridge area. We have now completed our assessments and have identified our preferred option.  Our design is still at a conceptual stage, but our proposals include the following:

    • Widening to sections of A644 Wakefield Road and part of the A62 Leeds Road.
    • Significant highway changes at the Cooper Bridge junction. 
    • Changes to Bradley junction and Oak Road, including changing Oak Road to one-way.
    • Provision of new segregated cycle lanes along Cooper Bridge Road, A62 Leeds Road, the Cooper Bridge junction and Oak Road.
    • Improving pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities.

    Why are you not building one of the link road options presented in 2018?

    Whilst there was support for the link road options during our public engagement in late 2018 / early 2019, there were also some concerns raised about the environmental impacts of the options, particularly on the ancient woodland and tree loss in general. Additionally, Kirklees Council has declared a climate emergency since those plans were developed.  

    Considering all of this, we have reviewed our designs with the aim of minimising the environmental impacts of the scheme whilst still addressing the transport issues in the area.  In doing this it became clear a link road solution that avoided the ancient woodland couldn’t be achieved within the available budget.

    What else have you changed?

    During the public engagement held in late 2018 /early 2019 we received a lot of feedback on our proposals. We have made the following changes as a result of comments received:

    You said you wanted: 

    • to reduce congestion 
    • to avoid impacting the Ancient Woodland and local heritage assets 
    • to minimise the impact on the local environment and green spaces 
    • parking for residents on Leeds Road to be retained 
    • improved cycle facilities including reduced conflicts between on-street parking and cycle lanes 
    • more filter lanes on the approaches to junctions

    In our preferred option we have: 

    • enhanced Cooper Bridge and Bradley junctions and optimised signal timings to reduce congestion and support the improvement of local air quality 
    • removed the proposed link road to avoid impacting the Ancient Woodland and surrounding green space 
    • changed the design for Oak Road to accommodate parking outside properties and avoid removing existing trees 
    • retained existing on-street parking along Leeds Road on the approach to Bradley junction (from Huddersfield) 
    • provided segregated cycle lanes along Oak Road, Leeds Road, Cooper Bridge Road and around Cooper Bridge junction 
    • relocated cycling facilities away from street parking on Oak Road and Leeds Road 
    • provided widening and/or filter lanes in the following locations: 
      • Colne Bridge Road on the approach to Bradley junction
      • Leeds Road (towards Huddersfield) at Bradley junction
      • Cooper Bridge Road at Cooper Bridge junction

    What will the scheme achieve?

    The main benefits of the scheme will be to:

    • relieve congestion and improve journey times for all vehicles including buses
    • improve road safety
    • improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians
    • support the improvement of air quality
    • support local economic and housing growth 

    Why have you selected the preferred option?

    We have assessed options in accordance with Department for Transport guidance, this allows us to understand the value for money of all options before selecting a preferred option.

    The options we considered were very similar due to the built-up nature of the area and we found all options offered High value for money. However, the preferred option was selected because it also:

    • enables us to maintain the road whilst minimising disruption to road users
    • the roundabout at Cooper Bridge is less confusing for drivers to use
    • cyclists and pedestrians can use the roundabout more easily

    Will the scheme make flooding worse?

    The roads in this area already suffer from flooding from the nearby river and waterways during periods of extreme rainfall. Whilst we are still at an early stage in developing our design we don’t currently expect our proposals to make this flooding any worse.

    We will work with Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency as we develop our plans. Our designs will include a Sustainable Drainage System as part of our design at Cooper Bridge which will allow us to store and control the drainage of surface water and direct water away from known flooding areas to help minimise the impacts of rainfall on the road.

    The road already floods near the railway bridges when it rains, will you fix this as part of the scheme?

    A separate piece of work is already being developed in partnership with Calderdale Council to address the cause of the existing flooding issue on Cooper Bridge Road.  We expect these improvements will be delivered before we construct the A62 to Cooper Bridge scheme.

    How will the plans affect local air quality?

    We have undertaken initial assessments to understand the impacts of our proposals on local air quality.  These consider the difference between air quality with and without the scheme and have shown the scheme will not have a significant impact on air quality.

    The Cooper Bridge area is currently declared as an Air Quality Management Area due to high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. However, along with other council initiatives and with improvements in vehicle efficiency, these levels are predicted to have significantly reduced by 2026 when the scheme is expected to open. This is predicted to be the case whether the scheme is constructed or not.

    Our air quality assessments will be updated as we develop our scheme design and will be published as part of our next consultation before we submit our planning application.  Air pollution levels will also continue to be monitored before and after the scheme as part of the council’s statutory requirement and its ongoing commitment to improve air quality across Kirklees.

    However, the scheme includes improved cycling and pedestrian facilities to encourage more use of sustainable modes of transport which will also help to make air quality better.

    Additionally, we will install new signal technology to manage traffic which will allow better information to be communicated to drivers and vehicles to be prioritised to further help improve air quality.

    What will the environmental impacts of the scheme be?

    We are currently in an early stage of developing the scheme and have only undertaken initial environmental assessments at this stage. This has helped to inform our selection of the preferred option and understand where we will need to design mitigations to minimise the impacts on the local environment.

    If we are successful in securing funding to progress the scheme, we will develop a more detailed design before undertaking our full environmental assessment. Once we have completed this work we will hold another public consultation to present our findings and final plans.

    What will happen to the Dumb Steeple?

    To construct the scheme we expect to need to relocate the Dumb Steeple.  As it is registered as a Grade II listed building, we will need consent from Historic England to allow us to do this.

    We want the obelisk to be safely accessible for the public to visit whilst remaining as close to its original location as possible, so we will work with both Historic England and the Kirklees Council Conservation Officer to identify a suitable location.  We have shown a possible location on our artists impression of the Cooper Bridge roundabout, but this may change following our discussions with Historic England.

    Is the scheme still needed, since the pandemic there isn’t as much traffic?

    The Department for Transport is still updating its guidance on how the impacts of COVID-19 should be taken into account when appraising transport schemes. Once this guidance is available, we will update our assessments to ensure the scheme still delivers value for money.

    However, since the first lockdown traffic volumes in the local area have almost returned to the levels they were before the pandemic struck. Whilst this is partly because not as many people are using public transport, it is still currently expected that congestion in the area will remain an issue after the restrictions are lifted.

    Who is paying for the scheme? Where is the money coming from?

    The project is to be funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Following this engagement, Kirklees Council has to submit a business case to the Combined Authority for their approval and for the scheme to proceed.  If successful, we will receive the funding allocated to the scheme through the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund.

    What is the West Yorkshire Combined Authority?

    The Combined Authority was formed in April 2014 to be the driving force for economic growth across the West Yorkshire 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.

    Can the money be spent on any other projects?

    The A62 to Cooper Bridge Corridor Improvement scheme has funding provisionally earmarked from the West Yorkshire plus Transport Fund and we wouldn’t be able to spend it on anything else. If the Combined Authority do not accept the scheme`s business case, then the scheme cannot go ahead and the money earmarked for this project will be allocated elsewhere in the region, not necessarily in Kirklees.

    Do you need to buy land to construct the scheme?

    Yes, we have already been in touch with landowners who will be affected by our plans and we will continue to liaise with them directly as our designs progress.

    When will you have the detailed design?

    Following the consultation process, feedback received will be considered and options for improvement will be looked at in accordance with guidelines approved by the Department for Transport (DfT). Once funding is secured, the detailed design will be developed. We will then hold a public consultation on the detail of those designs, before they are finalised. We currently expect to be able to do this in 2023.

    When will you start work on the improvements and how long will it take to construct?

    Subject to securing all necessary planning consents and funding approval from the Combined Authority it is anticipated that construction work will commence in 2024. If we can begin work sooner, we will.

    Once we secure approval to our Outline Business Case we will appoint a contractor to work with us to develop a detailed construction plan, but we currently expect work to be completed in 2026.

    Why will it take so long to build?

    This is a busy area of the road network and we will need to carefully manage how the scheme is constructed to help to minimise the disruption to the travelling public.

    However, some preparatory works will be needed, such as diverting utilities equipment, to enable us to construct the scheme.

    We will also need to coordinate our plans with Network Rail to enable us to construct the scheme whilst they are making improvements to the Transpennine Route without causing unnecessary disruption and so we can safely widen the railway bridges on Cooper Bridge Road.

    Once we secure approval to our Outline Business Case we will appoint a contractor to work with us to develop a detailed construction plan and will provide more details at our next consultation in 2023.

    Will my comments be considered?

    Yes. Your comments will help inform proposals to address not only the underlying highway issues but also the needs of local residents, business owners and commuters. By having your say and sharing your views we will be able to ensure that the priorities and thoughts you have on your area are considered in any scheme design.

    Who can take part? Can I tell other people to take part?

    We welcome the opinions and feedback of anyone. Whether you travel by public transport, walk, drive or cycle, are a business owner or just travel through the area, your views and insights are valuable to us. Please share the link www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/CooperBridge 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 so they can have the opportunity to provide an individual response.

    When can I take part?

    The consultation is running until 18 July 2021.  Please make sure you complete the survey before this date.

    How can I take part?

    You can take part by visiting our website: www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/CooperBridge, to review all the latest information and complete the online questionnaire. It you require any information in a different format you can contact MetroLine on 0113 245 7676.

    When will we find out the results? What will you do with the results? Will you keep me updated on progress?

    After the consultation period closes on 18 July, responses to the questionnaire will collated and analysed. A summary report will be prepared and posted on www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/CooperBridge and www.kirklees.gov.uk/majorschemes.

    We will consider the feedback and where feasible we will use this to inform the final scheme design.

    At this stage it is intended that area wide information will be posted to residents and businesses when we hold further consultations. We will also update the webpage with all the latest information regarding the scheme. You can also sign up to our project page on Your Voice to be kept up to date in future.

    Will you require planning permission to build the scheme?

    Yes, once we have secured funding to proceed with the scheme we will develop our design and undertake more surveys to help us prepare our planning application. We expect to submit our application in 2023. Subject to our application being approved we aim to begin construction in 2024.

    Are you working with Calderdale Council on this?

    Yes. The scheme crosses the boundary between Calderdale and Kirklees Councils.  Because the most significant changes are within the Kirklees boundary we are leading on the development of the scheme. However, we are working closely with colleagues at Calderdale Council to ensure the scheme is successfully delivered.

    What are your plans for a cycle route between Cooper Bridge and Brighouse?

    We are currently working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority CityConnect programme, Calderdale Council and key interested parties to develop and deliver a cycle route which improves the connection between Brighouse and  the Cooper Bridge area. Following a positive response to the public consultation, we are now in the process of refining possible solutions.