Heritage site traffic plan set to get green light from councillors

A MULTI-MILLION pound package of traffic measures to boost road safety and ease congestion through one of Yorkshire's World Heritage sites is due to be given the go-ahead.

The 3.3m plan to replace Saltaire roundabout with a new junction is part of a tranche of moves to improve traffic flow through the West Yorkshire village.

Saltaire is one of two places in the region – the other is Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire – that are among the UK's 28 World Heritage sites. It won designation in 2001 as a prime example of a Victorian industrial village.

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Senior councillors will be advised to back the transport scheme when Bradford Council's executive meets on January 14.

The council's executive member for traffic and highways, Councillor Ghazanfer Khaliq, said: "Saltaire roundabout is one of the most dangerous junctions in the district, so it is very important we start safety improvements."

It is hoped the traffic measures, which are due to be funded through the Regional Transport Board and Department for Transport, will improve safety for pedestrians as well as motorists.

The new layout would see Saltaire roundabout replaced by a junction with traffic lights at the intersection of Saltaire Road and the A650 Bingley Road/Gordon Terrace.

The scheme would also introduce 20mph zones in Saltaire village, Nab Wood, Moorhead, Hirst Wood and Wycliffe. Other measures include traffic lights giving priority to buses and replacement pedestrian crossings.

The latest draft of the scheme has taken more than three years to pull together and has seen residents take on a key role in finalising its design.

Various agencies have been consulted on the plans including businesses representatives, Saltaire Primary School and Saltaire Village Society, as well as the Metro (the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive), ward councillors and residents.

A total of 17 options were considered and analysed using traffic simulations. Earlier this year, plans were revealed to replace Saltaire roundabout with traffic lights, but the proposals were later amended after feedback.

Bradford Council claims the final design offers the best way to improve safety and journey times, particularly for bus passengers.

Coun Khaliq said: "This scheme has been designed in close co-operation with local people whose comments and suggestions have played a valuable role in refining the design. Work on the main junction will be in addition to a range of other changes to the roads around Saltaire which will make the village far safer for pedestrians and drivers."

It is also hoped that the scheme will reduce pollution in the World Heritage site. Traffic studies gathered data on the level of pollutants being released by vehicles in a morning peak period across the whole Nab Wood, Hirst Wood and Saltaire area, for the existing road layout and the proposed design.

It is estimated that the traffic scheme would cut carbon monoxide by 12 per cent, hydrocarbons by 10.8 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 19 per cent.

Coun Khaliq said: "I think anything we do at the roundabout to make it easier for the flow of the traffic will have a positive impact on the environment."

If councillors back the measures, work on some elements of the scheme will begin in the New Year with the major improvements likely to begin in the summer.

It is hoped the project will be completed by the autumn of 2012.

Bradford Council leader, Coun Ian Greenwood, said: "Clearly this scheme is one that is necessary. There has been a problem for a considerable period with Saltaire roundabout.

"This scheme will improve the situation, but I do not think anyone believes it is the final answer for the road along the valley."

A report will be considered before the executive meeting by Bradford Council's environment and waste overview and scrutiny committee on January 11.