Road upgrades are vital as Leeds bids for a share of £700m to address “years of under-investment”

Local politicians have called for a radical overhaul of the roads network in the city as two major routes in West Leeds were earmarked for a share of a GBP700m government pot of funding to upgrade the region’s roads following “years of under-investment”. Stuart Andrew MP for Pudsey and Coun Andrew Carter of the Calverley and Farsley ward have both welcomed Transport for the North’s bid to make improvements at Dawsons Corner junction, Pudsey and the Stanningley Bypass but say it is still not enough to relieve residents and commuters of car chaos. It was announced last night that the transport body had launched an ambitious multi-million pound bid that could see major upgrades to busy travel routes in Leeds following “years of under-investment”.

The Department for Transport has been asked to back projects for 16 “economically important roads which urgently need improvements” to support the region’s growth. The funding bid identifies 12 ‘Major Road Network’ and four ‘Large Local Major’ schemes that could be on site or completed by 2025 – which include Dawson’s Corner and the Stanningley by-pass. Mr Andrew said he welcomed any project to improve road networks and acknowledged that Dawson’s Corner is “particularly difficult” due to having the main road from Bradford and the ring road coming off it.

But he added: “What we do really need to sort is the ring road itself. From Dawson’s Corner up to Horsforth roundabout in one direction is a dual carriageway and the other it is a single carriageway. There have been far too many accidents of recent and is getting quite dangerous.

“We need to be looking at the long term solution for the ring road. That stretch is so strategic that anything that goes wrong has an impact for the commuters and residents that are stuck not being able to get to their homes. “We need to have a real long term solution and I can’t think of any other city the size of Leeds that doesn’t have a ring road that is dualled right around.”

Coun Carter said local motorists were all aware of the issues at both sections of road. He told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “First of all I welcome the fact that the government has made this money available for Transport for the North to bid for. The Dawson’s Corner Scheme is one that is badly needed.

We know that the junction is at capacity during peak times and that is only going to get worse unless there is reconfiguration of the junction so it is welcome news. “The Stanningley by-pass and Dawson’s Corner are very much linked to each other and that runs into Dawson’s Corner so it makes sense that these are the two schemes that Transport for the North are bidding for. “Everybody who uses these know that at peak times they are very congested on an evening and I hope that incorporated in this will be the need for speed cameras along the A647 as myself and Coun Amanda Carter are very concerned about the speed on there.”

Peter Molyneux, major roads director at Transport for the North, said that funding for the “economically important roads” was based on clear evidence. The funding bid was made by Transport for the North in collaboration with its 20 local transport authority members, and 50 highway authorities. He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Years of under-investment in road networks across the North has resulted in slow journey times and poor reliability.

“With more than 80 per cent of commuting trips and 87 per cent of freight movements using the road network in the North, our people and businesses are being held back. “Funding these economically important roads, as part of a collaborative and multi-modal proposal based on clear evidence of need and expected benefits, should be done now. Alongside public transport improvements and investment in decarbonisation, this will enable roads to play a sustainable role in our transport network for the future.

“Investment in our roads will complement the improvements in rail and ticketing to make the North better connected and improve opportunities for all.”

Other road improvement schemes in Yorkshire that are being targeted in the funding bid are the first and second phases to dual the A1237 in York and the Sheffield Innovation Corridor project.

The remainder of the schemes are other parts of the North such as Cumbria, Cheshire, Liverpool, Manchester and the Tees Valley.

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