Major investment in road network up for approval
The Highways Capital Plan, a detailed programme of works which would be implemented over the next two years, is to be considered by Kirklees Council’s cabinet.
The plan details investment in various areas including road surfacing, street lighting, structures, road safety, flood management and drainage, traffic signals, car parks and public transport provision, as well as encouraging active travel through walking and cycling.
Over £12m, originally proposed in the plan for 2021/22 has increased to over £22m with the inclusion of the Local Transport Plan funding, the Council funded Locality based unclassified roads programme and other various grants.
The funding will help to improve the condition of the highway network across Kirklees which comprises of 1900km of roads; 2333km of pavements and cycleway; 754 bridges, larger culverts, subways and retaining/other walls; 58,805 streetlights; 250km established drains; 75,653 gullies plus other items such as road markings and street furniture.
It will also see the continued replacement of streetlights. To date the council has converted around 82% (43,500) of its streetlights from the traditional orange glow to new white LED ones, providing a 60% saving in energy used and corresponding reductions in carbon being generated. This all goes towards the council’s commitment to its carbon neutral target, as declared as part of Kirklees Climate Emergency in 2019.
A specific grant award from the Department for Transport to repair potholes or resurface roads to help prevent potholes forming, was added to the already planned investment by the council for pothole repairs. Last year this grant funded 11 small resurfacing and large patching schemes, as well as 11 full resurfacing schemes with a continuation of this programme in 2021/22.
Additionally, the capital plan includes investment in sustainable alternatives to car use – a key element supporting the road map for a carbon neutral Kirklees by 2038. The Integrated Public Transport provision helps to support small scale improvements to bus services that improve reliability and accessibility, with the cycling and walking elements supporting the development of active travel initiatives across Kirklees. Both of these support council initiatives in the delivery of the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy to help improve air quality.
Councillor Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment said,
“The maintenance and improvements to our highways network are vital for the development of Kirklees as a place where people want to live, work and visit.
“Climate change and air quality are a key consideration with all our highways projects. If the funding is approved, this huge investment across multiple schemes, will in most cases, provide dual impact and benefit to everyone, and not just those who use our highways.”
A decision will be made at Cabinet at the beginning of June.