A significant project has been initiated with the aim of enhancing accessibility in and around the Newton Bar area of Wakefield. This development will benefit pedestrians, cyclists, bus commuters, and motorists alike.
The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has provided full funding for this £9.5 million investment. The scheme is designed to simplify and secure people’s movements, ultimately reducing congestion and travel times.
A notable portion of the investment has been allocated to the creation of 11 new pedestrian and cycle crossings at Newton Bar. Previously, only three crossings were present in the vicinity.
Pedestrians and cyclists now have access to 1,320 metres of newly constructed shared footpaths and cycle lanes. This improvement significantly increases accessibility for numerous residents, including those who require wheelchair access, as well as parents and caregivers with prams.
Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “Thousands of people live in the Newton Bar area. A big part of the project is to ensure that everyone can safely get around the A650 and Newton Bar roundabout.
“We’ve already had some great feedback from pedestrians. They’ve told us the new layout is making a big difference. The additional crossing points are making it much safer, quicker, and convenient to get around the area.
“Our plans for new trees in the area, and proposals for a nature area nearby will also do a lot to improve the local environment. It’s part of our plan to support tackling climate change in our district”.
Cllr Peter Carlill, Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: “This has been a huge investment to develop the transport network in Wakefield. It will reduce the amount of traffic and make it easier for people to walk, cycle and use the bus.
“The reduction in traffic congestion and planting of more trees will benefit the local environment. It will help us towards achieving our ambitious target of becoming net-zero by 2038.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help fund this. We are aiming for a brighter, greener and better-connected West Yorkshire.”
Efforts are underway to establish a nature area on the former office premises at Newton Bar, where 20 trees have been preserved. Planning permission is being sought for the planting of 300 new trees in this location, which will enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat.
As part of the roundabout enhancement project, a new underground tank with a capacity of 400m3 has been installed in a grassy area. This tank will play a crucial role in managing flood risks for nearby homes.
Other modifications include enlarging the roundabout at Newton Bar, extending a new bus lane by 150 metres on the A61, and implementing improvements to the traffic signals at Leeds Road, Bradford Road, and Wentworth Street.
This scheme is being financed through the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, which is dedicated to enhancing transportation links throughout the region.