Work completed on £6m Kirkgate scheme in Wakefield city centre
Work has been completed on a major scheme to improve Wakefield's Kirkgate area for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and motorists.
The £6m regeneration scheme has been designed to make the area more accessible, and with new infrastructure in place, it will also support future development and investment in this part of the city.
An innovative re-design means the former pedestrian subways under the roundabout, which were built in the 1970s, have been transformed into tanks that will hold excess storm water. This will help to prevent flooding, with the water being gradually released back into the sewer system, once a spell of wet weather is over.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: "It's a great day for Kirkgate as this important scheme is now finished and it represents another major step forward for the area.
"In the longer term it will bring great benefits for the district as having the right infrastructure in place could lead to new development and investment, which would provide a real boost for the local community."
The scheme has been financed through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority's 'West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund', part of the Leeds City Region Growth Deal. A £1billion package of Government investment through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region. Overall the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has committed £147million to schemes across West Yorkshire and the City Region through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: "Through its West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, the Combined Authority has committed over £45 million to support infrastructure schemes in the Wakefield district, including the completed £33 million Eastern Relief Road, the £6 million Pontefract Northern Relief Road and the creation of 150 new park and ride spaces at South Elmsall and Fitzwilliam rail stations.
"As well as reducing congestion, improving conditions for cyclist and pedestrians and reducing the risk of flooding, this Kirkgate scheme will support economic growth and new jobs."
Work involved removing the subways around Kirkgate and putting in new kerbs, paving, and traffic signals on the large roundabout to control the traffic and provide crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.
Re-opening Park Street junction is providing better access for vehicles to and from Kirkgate Station and the surrounding residential area.
Other changes include Monk Street being paved and the closing of the Monk Street and Brunswick Street junction to traffic to improve conditions for people walking and cycling between the city centre and Kirkgate Station.
In recent years there have been other major improvements to the Kirkgate area with the refurbishment of the train station and the opening of the new West Yorkshire History Centre which houses the West Yorkshire archives.