Work set to begin on park-and-ride expansion drive

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A park-and-ride scheme to cut traffic congestion in York is set to go ahead subject to final approval from the Government.

The £22m project is aimed at bolstering York’s existing park-and-ride network through the construction of the city’s sixth site and a series of improvements to the A59.

Plans for development work at Poppleton Bar, on the A59, and Askham Bar were finalised last year, with the Department for Transport set to contribute almost £16m to the scheme and York Council covering the other £6m.

If final consent is given it is expected that construction work will begin in March ahead of a completion date in mid-2014.

Coun Dave Merrett, York Council’s cabinet member for city strategy, said: “It’s the biggest single piece of transport investment in the city for several decades and it also includes a major upgrade of the major ring road junction.

“It’s absolutely key that park-and-ride helps us to get people in and out of the city without congesting up the road network.”

Plans to expand the network have been in the pipeline for nearly a decade after first being drawn up in 2003.

The city’s existing park-and-ride network has been instrumental in helping prevent congestion on York’s roads and getting commuters and tourists in and out of the city centre.

But it is recognised that there is a massive demand for extra 
facilities, as the existing Askham Bar site has been operating at its maximum capacity for several years.

The proposals would see the Askham Bar facility relocated and doubled in size, with a new site introduced on the outskirts of York at Upper Poppleton.

The scheme also features an upgrade to the A59, near Poppleton, which is already a major bottleneck for traffic.

Coun Merrett said: “The A59 is doubly important as it helps us to address the potential congestion from developing the British Sugar and York Central sites, which are two of the biggest brownfield sites in the city.

“Without improved public transport the issue would potentially overwhelm the road network.”

In 2011 the city council found itself among several of the region’s local authorities in having to scale back its transport plans due to the Government’s austerity drive.

The council, which was bidding to create three new park-and-ride sites, was forced to ditch proposals for one of the schemes at Clifton Moor.