A £24 MILLION road improvement scheme that “generations” of Bradford residents have been waiting for looks to finally be moving forward.

Work to reduce congestion on Tong Street has been in the pipeline for a number of years, but never got off the ground.

At a meeting of West Yorkshire Combined Authority yesterday, members agreed to provide £2.5 million funding to move ahead with a business case for the project.

The scheme will see a 1.5km stretch of the road between Knowles Lane and Westgate Hill widened to two lanes in each direction, a new segregated cycle route on the North side of the road and more pedestrian crossings.

One local Councillor says he has been waiting almost 50 years for work to improve the road to begin.

At the meeting of the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee James Bennett, programme manager, told members that 37,000 vehicles used the road each day.

He said the work would reduce congestion, which would also reduce emissions.

£64 million link road plan to beat congestion in South Bradford

Car journeys would be reduced by around four minutes on the route, and bus journeys would be reduced by two minutes.

Mr Bennett pointed out that the improvements to cycling and walking routes on the road would help reduce car journeys, adding: “It will lead to a 20 per cent increase in walking trips and an increase in cycling trips of 300 per cent along the corridor.

“People are starting to move to other modes of transport like walking and cycling, and this scheme will really help people make more cycling trips.”

The committee was told that as well as improving traffic flows, the scheme would “unlock” areas for housing development near Holme Wood, as well as creating employment sites along the Sticker Lane area.

Up to £20m of the £24m scheme will be funded by the Combined Authority through its Transport Fund. However, members heard that Bradford Council had applied to the Department For Transport for funding towards the scheme. If that bid is successful then the Combined Authority could re-allocate its funding to another local project.

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw told the meeting: “Tong residents have wanted this to happen for generations, so I’m keen to see this move forward.”

Members voted to approve the funding towards the business case for the scheme.

The work is expected to be completed in 2025 and will include

  • Widening the carriageway from one to two lanes in both directions, which will improve traffic flow
  • Central islands with turning areas
  • Increased footway space to the north side with a new,fully segregated cycle facilities
  • Upgrades to pedestrian crossings and signalised junctions, plus new cycle-friendly Toucan crossings
  • A review of on-street parking arrangements

After the meeting Cllr Ross Shaw said: "This scheme will have far-reaching benefits for the south-east area of our district, Tong Street and the city centre, so it is vital that we can make it a reality.

"The further expansion or our cycle network would be another big step towards having quality segregated cycleways throughout the district.This section of road has also been blighted by congested, slow moving traffic for many years so there will be many people who will be happy to see this change.”

Councillor Michael Johnson (Lab, Tong), said: “I lived in Holme Wood for 46 years and when I look back to the sixties as a schoolboy, I remember the widening of Wakefield Road and the demolition of houses on Tong Street in preparation for its widening.

"Back then we never thought over 50 years later we’d still be waiting for the road to be widened and brought up to modern day standards.

“Now we have the introduction of clean electric cars which means that thankfully in the future we will have non-polluting cars but it won’t change the fact that people will need to get around more freely than they do now.

“It’s been a privilege to have been elected by the residents of Tong Ward to represent them on Bradford Council for over 21 years. In that time I have always given them my honest view on any issue they have raised with me and then it has been up to them to decide whether they wanted to vote for me.

“My opinion on this issue is even stronger than it was all those years ago, that this scheme will make people’s lives better in the ward by improving traffic flow, cutting congestion and CO2 emissions and reducing journey times.”