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Bradford Canal Road scheme work to be accelerated?
A traffic-jam busting scheme on the busy Canal Road corridor is having to be speeded up so Government funding isn’t lost.
Bradford Council bosses have now been warned that unless they accelerate the scheme by delegating key decisions to staff, the whole project could be in jeopardy.
The Department for Transport has awarded £2.6 million to the Council to build a stretch of dual carriageway to cut congestion, and improve the Canal Road-Stanley Road junction.
But all the money has to be spent before a Government-imposed cut-off date of March 2015 or it will be lost.
So now the Council, which is putting in a further £1.14 million and was originally planning on a finish date of summer 2015, has to speed up its work.
The Council already owns much of the land which will be used to widen the road and improve the junction, but some of it is privately owned and needs to be acquired while some of the Council-owned land is being leased out at the moment.
On Tuesday, the Council’s Executive will be asked to approve the general principle of the project and delegate the rest of the work to officers so it can be finished in time.
The delegated decisions, which would be overseen by executive member for transport Councillor Val Slater, include drawing up a detailed design for the scheme, negotiating with landowners and leaseholders to free up the necessary land, hiring contractors, seeking planning permission and approving the works.
In a report to the Executive, strategic director of regeneration Barra Mac Ruairi called DfT’s timescale “extremely challenging”.
And he warned that if the Executive did not delegate these powers to officers, the whole scheme could be put in jeopardy.
He said: “Executive could choose not to support the recommendations, but this would jeopardise the delivery of a scheme that will contribute to the economic growth of the district.”
Coun Slater said the Council had been aware of the cut-off date, but had previously thought they could work beyond it, as long as they were spending their portion of the funding.
But she said by delegating the work in this way, they would cut down bureaucracy and get the project done quicker.
She said: “They shouldn’t need to bring every last thing to us, they should be able to get on with it, which is what would happen in outside industry.”
Work is scheduled to begin next summer.
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