Plans have been revealed to alter the route of HS2 between Wakefield and Leeds city station by building a new viaduct linking the two areas.
A report presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, outlines a number of changes across the HS2 high-speed rail link that aims to better connect major cities in Britain.
One alteration is the Leeds corridor - Woodlesford to Leeds Station.
The proposal is that for eight kilometres on the approach into Leeds station, the line runs predominantly on a viaduct, rather than a combination of at ground level, cutting and embankment.
Current proposals would see the Leeds Spur branch away from the HS2 mainline south‑east of Oulton before entering a two kilometre bored tunnel to the south of Woodlesford. That tunnel would pass under Woodlesford before emerging between Network Rail’s Hallam Line and the Aire and Calder Navigation Canal. The existing Hallam Line would be realigned with a new crossing under the M1. From Stourton, the HS2 alignment and the Hallam Line would run parallel for three and a half kilometres, going north of junction four of the M621 where HS2 runs through the Southbank area to the new HS2 station. This section would require works to 12 bridges across the Hallam Line and the closure of Jack Lane.
However, these have been deemed too complex with too much of an impact on the existing Hallam Line during construction; disruption to existing road networks; impact on private and business users and public transport.
Designers have explored other options and come up with a change that would see the Woodlesford tunnel shortened so the Leeds Spur would climb onto a viaduct through the northern edge of Rothwell Country Park, continue on a viaduct to a point east of the M1 crossing, then a 400 metre embankment before continuing on a viaduct for just over three kilometres into Leeds Station.
The alteration avoids the need to realign the Hallam Line and the need to reconstruct nine bridges.
In the report Mr Grayling said: "The proposed changes to the HS2 route are intended to make it more efficient, cost effective and to minimise disruption for residents and impacts on the environment."
Following the publication of the report, a Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “We understand that HS2 has issued a press statement outlining their plans to consult on variations to their original proposals along parts of their route.
“While we don’t yet know the details of what they’re suggesting and will have to examine the plans closely, there will be a lengthy consultation period where everyone affected will have the opportunity to comment on the new proposals.”
High Speed Two (HS2) is a new high-speed railway proposed by the Government to connect major cities in Britain.
It promises to increase capacity to Manchester and Leeds and transform journey times from London and Birmingham to Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Scotland, Newcastle, Liverpool and Preston, and between the northern cities and the Midlands.
It would directly connect eight of the ten largest cities and their regions, with significant reductions in journey times.
HS2 says it will connect people to jobs, businesses to suppliers, and make parts of the UK more accessible to leisure travellers and tourists.