Â£33m scheme offers a '˜real potential to Wakefield'
'It's clear to see the potential this is going to have for the whole district.'
Those were the words of Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, as he stood on one of the first surfaced parts of the new £33m Eastern Relief Road.
After laying the foundations almost a year ago, tarmac is now being put down on stretches of the congestion-easing 5.5km bypass.
It is based on the east side of the city and, when finished next year, will provide a link from Aberford Road to Doncaster Road.
The relief road will reduce traffic congestion by offering an alternative route which avoids the city centre and gives direct access to the M62.
Coun Box said: “Having travelled on the road, it’s clear to see the potential this is going to have for Wakefield - not only the city but for the whole district
“This is one of the biggest and most ambitious projects that this district has seen for decades and so much has already been achieved.
“The construction is progressing well and we are confident that it will bring real benefits.”
As part of the project, plans are in place to build 2,500 homes as part of the City Fields development.
The finished road will include one carriageway with a 30mph speed limit, the same as the £5.5m Pontefract Northern Link Road, which opened in 2015.
Contractors worked around the clock over Christmas to install a new 1,200-tonne railway bridge on the Eastmoor part of the site.
And last month, beams to support a traffic bridge crossing the river were put into position. That river bridge is now the largest single span bridge in the city, and the first new crossing of The River Calder installed in more than a century.
Funding for the project was provided by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), as part of the government-led £1bn Leeds City Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal.
Coun Box, who is also chairman of the WYCA, said: “I think this road is a testament to the Combined Authority and the West Yorkshire councils are now working closer together and that funding is being made available.
“We have had these plans in place to be able to take the opportunity offered to us with this.”
The completed project will include several ponds to help with drainage.
Kerbing is now underway at the Ferry Lane end of the road and construction is starting at the Doncaster Road side of the site.
Temporary site offices are now also being demolished, to make way for work to create a new junction at Ferry Lane.
Coun Box added: “The progress of the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road is great news for the district.
“The new road will help reduce traffic congestion in and around the city, improve our transport links, unlock land for future development and help create thousands of new jobs.”
The council says it aims for the road to be completed by Spring 2017.