Action taken over traffic

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Bradford Council now has only three weeks left to submit a bid to the Regional Transport Board for an initial £10 million to help pave the way for the first phases of a congestion-busting scheme linking the city and the Aire Valley.

A successful bid would then see £10 million of the windfall the Council received from the sale of Leeds-Bradford Airport, which was earmarked for "infrastructure to support regeneration", being put towards the overall costs with a view to the Government providing the rest.

Within six years the district's transport chiefs want to improve public transport and local access, revamp Saltaire roundabout adding traffic signals, make improvements to Canal Road, build a new railway station at Manningham and construct a Shipley Eastern Link Road.

The Council's executive will discuss these plans and longer-term proposals that would provide traffic relief for Saltaire and Keighley on Tuesday.

They will be asked to gauge public support for the plans through a forthcoming issue of the Council's Community Pride magazine and to submit a bid to the Regional Transport Board asking for the medium-term scheme to be given funding priority when submitted to the Government.

It should learn in April whether the bid has cleared the first hurdle.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, the Council's executive member for environment and culture, said: "This is a huge priority for us as the Airedale corridor is a principal location for regeneration, housing and jobs.

"This package of transport improvements is vital to creating and unlocking substantial opportunities for the area."

John Blackburn, the Council's assistant director for transportation and highways, said: "Due to slippage in other schemes in the region, transport funding has become available.

"In terms of Bradford's long-term growth and regeneration, we are saying that we should be allocated part of that and because it is Bradford's first priority there are key elements we could deliver quite quickly, such as changes at Saltaire roundabout."

The Council's Labour group leader, Councillor Ian Greenwood, said: "Clearly there are issues of bottlenecks in Shipley and Canal Road - areas of Bradford that need to be addressed.

"It's right and proper to go out for the medium-term plan which the Council is consulting on. The longer-term plans for Shipley and Keighley are obviously at this moment not up for discussion. I welcome the consultation and hope that people make their feelings known."

And Sandy Needham, chief executive at Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: "We support increased investment in infrastructure and when the airport was sold, said the bulk of the money should go towards these sort of improvements.

"There are such large amounts of money needed it is difficult to do in normal budgeting, but this bid, working with partners and within the Leeds city region, will help lever in the money from other sources."

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