THE renaturalisation of parts of Bradford Beck is one of the benefits of a multi million pound road improvement scheme - Council bosses were told.

Members of Bradford Council’s Executive were yesterday given a presentation of the Bradford to Shipley Route Improvement Scheme.

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The project, funded by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, will see Canal Road widened to four lanes in a bid to reduce congestion between Shipley and Bradford.

That would become the main route for cars, while Manningham Lane will be turned into a more cycle and pedestrian friendly route.

A segregated cycle lane will be created on the route between Otley Road and Hamm Strasse. Much of the route will become a 20mph zone and new greenery will be installed on the road.

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The Combined Authority has allocated £47.9m to the project.

There are two options for the scheme. One would include a new bridge built over the railway bridge at Valley Road and cost £76 million.

If no new bridge is built, the project will cost around £53.7m.

Both options will vastly improve journey times, although the bridge option would lead to faster traffic flows.

A decision on which option to take has yet to be made.

As well as improving congestion and boosting sustainable travel, members were also told that the work would aid the development of the New Bolton Woods urban village made up of thousands of homes, which is being built off Canal Road.

Bradford Beck is mainly subterranean, with a stretch of it running alongside Canal Road.

As part of the scheme the Beck will be uncovered and landscaped with new public access to the waterway.

For many years the Firends of Bradford Beck have been campaigning for the city’s subterranean waterways to be once again opened up.

Barney Lerner, Chair of the Friends of Bradford Beck, attended yesterday’s meeting, and said: “Renaturalising rivers make cities and towns better places. There is no reason why you should not do this. We’re highly in favour of renaturalising the Beck.

“Renaturalising the Beck will be good for everyone.”

He said he hoped the scheme would be “natural” rather than an engineered, concrete channel.

Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe thanked him for all the work he and the group had done over the years.

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, portfolio holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “I remember the report by the Friends of Bradford Beck in 2012, just after I was elected. It is great to be sitting here a few years later delivering this.

“This is not just a road widening scheme for Canal Road. This is the type of amenity that makes a community great to live in.

“The scheme will also lead to two segregated cycleways connecting Shipley and Bradford, making it one of the best connected routes for cycling.”

Estimates show journey times under the changes would drop by eight per cent for cars, vans and lorries, and 12 per cent for buses.

The scheme is expected to be completed by 2025.