News that Bradford could gain a new relief route to take commercial traffic off Tong Street/ Westgate Hill, as reported in the Telegraph & Argus, will come as welcome news in the City of Bradford.
In addition to motorists, who have to endure lengthy queues on the A650 when heading out to the Motorway or back into the City via Junction 27, residents will also welcome the news since they are having to put up with high levels of fumes and poisoning in the air around Tong.
The scheme has a long way to go and may face hurdles if it tries to consume any more Green Belt land than originally envisaged when the plans were first drawn up in 2012. There is also a current cost implication of £64million, of which about two thirds would be provided by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Nevertheless, the initiative to put the scheme forward again is to be applauded.
Of course, Bradford’s road network generally is in need of improvement. There are other bottlenecks along Canal Road which are destined to get worse as housing sites on the eastern bank of the Basin are developed. The bottom of Manchester Road to Godwin Street section, around the Media Museum/Alhambra, also seems to back up the majority of a typical working day.
If Bradford’s economy is to grow, attract new business from outside its boundaries and punch at least at its weight, as it used to many years ago, then it needs much higher levels of investment that we’ve witnessed in the past two decades or so.
It also needs to give some thought to proper dedicated cycle routes, as opposed to the routes that we have seen recently. One in particular, which was strongly criticised by long-established local business Uriah Woodhead, has caused chaos by introducing a new junction at an existing congested point on the road network and forces traffic into a one-way system along Valley Road that reduces available routes for motorists and in turn causes more pollution and inefficiency. Realistically, very few cyclists would consider using it due to the inherent dangers.
Ultimately, the taxpayer must foot the bill for such investment and unless many of us are prepared to recognise that, rather than just complaining, then we shouldn’t criticise the Government agencies.