IF Kildwick level crossing was located in the south of the country, the current traffic delays and lack of a bridge or similar infrastructure would have been tackled years ago, according to county councillor Philip Barrett.

Cllr Barratt, who is also ward councillor for Glusburn said in response to rail owner Network Rail’s latest pledge to look at ways to alleviate traffic delays: “I welcome the joint working between North Yorkshire County Council and Network Rail to investigate the possibility of reducing downtime at Kildwick level crossing.

“Any savings in downtime are likely to be only small but they would help the severe traffic delays it currently causes,” he said.

Cllr Barrett added that vehicle surveys had been carried out to determine the number of road users in the area and said, for instance, the daily volume of traffic on the Aire Valley trunk road between Kildwick and Silsden roundabout is around 28,000.

He added: “I’m currently in discussions with county Highways at options to mitigate the dangerous grid-locking at the busy Kildwick roundabout caused by the level crossing which could be delivered in the short term.

“Clearly, what is desperately needed is a long term solution to enable both the highway and rail network to operate independently.

“As many of your readers will be aware there have been several failed attempts to fund the bridging of the railway which would require major capital investment. It goes without saying that if this situation was down south it would have been sorted years ago.

“The ongoing Cross Pennine Transport Study by Highways England which is examining strategic transport routes from Colne (M65 and Skipton to Colne rail link) into Yorkshire could bring about opportunities for major capital investment in the longer term.

“Without question there is a long overdue need for a major capital investment of the transport infrastructure in the area which has been left to fester over many years.”

Cllr David Mullen, chairman of Steeton-with-Eastburn Parish Council said the study can’t come soon enough.

“We’ve only been asking for something to be done for 15 years,” he said.

“If the by-pass had gone through Baxterwood as suggested, the traffic problems would never have happened.

“Those barriers at Kildwick are down 50 minutes out of each hour. There is no reason on Earth why they need to be down so long. It is absolutely ridiculous.

“The parish council has been fighting long and hard for a solution. We have just done our Neighbourhood Plan which takes account of the traffic issues the Kildwick crossing causes.

“We not only have the hospital traffic to deal with, but East Lancashire traffic too. It is having a huge impact on us.”