DRIVERS will save more than 40,000 hours a year of travel time once Hard Ings Road is widened.

They will see dramatic savings in travel time, as high as 71% on current journeys during the evening rush hour.

The impressive forecasts were made by Bradford Council traffic engineers as work began this week on widening the congestion hotspot in Keighley.

The experts claim the work, which will last 58 weeks, will also stop jams getting worse at the bottleneck as traffic continues to increase.

Bradford Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are spending £10.3 million on ambitious improvements to the A650 Hard Ings Road between the Victoria Park and Beechcliffe roundabouts.

Centrepiece of the project – Keighley’s biggest road project in 30 years – is the widening of the road to two lanes on each side.

The work also involve an additional lane for traffic approaching the Beechcliffe roundabout on the A629 Aire Valley Road, with new traffic lights.

There will also be improvements to the Lawkholme Lane junction including a new crossing; new street lighting; giant digital signs for traffic information; new landscaping; and replacement paving including a shared cycle lane.

Bradford Council this week issued a set of predictions based on sophisticated traffic modelling techniques.

It said the scheme was designed to reduce journey times and cut delays as well as improve air quality for road users and residents alike.

A spokesman said: “These journey time savings reflect a total saving of 39,633 hours in the first year across both the morning and evening peak hours.

“Traffic modelling shows predicted journey time savings between the A629 dual carriageway section and the A650 Aire Valley Road (eastbound) to be 10% in the morning and 71% in the evening rush hour periods.

“Journey time savings in the opposite direction (westbound) are predicted to be 18% in the morning peak and 31% in the evening.

The council admitted that Hard Ings Road currently suffered from peak-period congestion.

The spokesman added: “Traffic modelling suggests this would only continue to get worse as a result of predicted traffic growth.

“Implementing the improvement scheme will increase capacity and reduce congestion on the A650 and adjacent routes.

During the Hard Ings Road improvements, contractors say they will try to maintain two lanes along the road for most of the time, with temporary traffic lights and road closures when necessary.