West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund

Background information

A629 Halifax to Huddersfield Corridor Improvements

Calderdale lies within the Leeds City Region but also borders districts in the Manchester and Lancashire City Regions including Rochdale, Burnley and Rossendale. Calderdale’s strategic position within the LCR, with strong physical and geographical connections to Greater Manchester, provides it with significant opportunities to outperform its peers as a lynchpin within the Government’s ambitions to establish the Northern Powerhouse. Capitalising upon its position and economic strengths, Calderdale has the ability to serve as a bridge for flows of investment and labour capital, to the benefit of both regional economies. 

As part of the ‘City Deal’ between West Yorkshire, York and central government, a new Transport Fund in excess of £1bn targeted specifically to increasing housing, employment and economic growth across the region has been created. The WY+TF identified a Core 10-year Package of measures that would enable change and deliver economic growth in the short to medium-term. The package was formed around five broad programmes, which are:

  • Rail and Rapid Transit;
  • More efficient highway and bus networks;
  • Multi-modal corridor improvements;
  • Other targeted improvements to support employment; and
  • Improving the highway network to support growth.

The A629 Halifax to Huddersfield Corridor comprises a multi-modal corridor improvements scheme prioritised for delivery within the first five years of the WY+TF, which has been allocated £120.6m to drive economic growth by addressing transport and accessibility issues. CMBC and Kirklees Council are jointly developing the range of interventions proposed along the corridor, which at pro forma stage envisaged:

  • Road space re-allocation (bus priority) and capacity and operational improvements (particularly to allow commercial vehicles to get to their destinations quickly and efficiently);
  • Major junction improvement at the A629 / A6026 Calder & Hebble junction and other key pinch points along the corridor;
  • Improvements to Junction 24 of the M62 (Ainley Top); 
  • Improvements to the strategic accessibility and public realm within Halifax Town Centre to deliver regeneration and growth aspirations;
  • Introduction of express bus services between Halifax and Huddersfield;
  • Promote mode choice by enhancing multimodal accessibility
  • Improve economic and employment opportunity throughout District
  • Reduce congestion along A629 corridor
  • Reduce bi-directional journey times for all modes on A629 corridor
  • Mitigate accessibility concerns of existing businesses
  • Improve air quality

In prioritising the scheme alongside others put forward at the time of the Fund’s inception, justification for the investment was provided using evidence from WYCA’s Urban Dynamic Model (UDM), which forecast the scheme’s ability to unlock development potential in both Calderdale and Kirklees, and create 1,740 jobs by 2026. Such benefits were predicted as achievable on the back of a range of scheme outcomes, including congestion relief, reduced journey times for general traffic, improved pedestrian/cycle accessibility and a reduction in end-to-end journey times for buses.

Delivery of the full corridor strategy will take a number of years to realise due to the complexity and extent of the numerous proposals. The scheme has therefore been split into a number of phases for the purposes of development, with Phases 1 and 2 prioritised for early delivery due to their greater contribution to overall scheme impacts that these components are expected to generate:

  • Phase 1: Southern Section (Elland Bypass to Free School Lane)
  • Phase 2: Halifax Town Centre
  • Phase 3: Free School Lane into Halifax
  • Phase 4: Ainley Top (M62 Junction 24) and wider strategic interventions
  • Phase 5: Ainley Top into Huddersfield.

Within Calderdale, a total of £17.5m has been mandated for the development and delivery of the Phase 1 section. This originally envisaged delivery by summer 2019. A further £57.1m has been mandated for the development and delivery of Phase 2 by March 2021.