By Tony Earnshaw LDRS
A massive link road that would connect the M62 at Brighouse with the M1 at Wakefield is STILL being worked on, highways chiefs have confirmed.
The proposed scheme, which has been mooted in various forms for three decades, would connect into various parts of Kirklees along its 10-mile route.
The revelation that the project is being considered anew comes four years after the road, dubbed the North Kirklees Orbital (NKO), was unveiled.
It was conceived to follow the “existing orientation” of the A644 and A638 respectively and to incorporate a new 5.5-mile section.
That indicates it would align to existing roads and rail lines to the south of Mirfield, close to the River Calder.
Senior figures on Kirklees Council have confirmed that the authority has received funding to investigate “preferred options” for the route.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s decision-making Cabinet (Nov 18) Clr Peter McBride revealed that the “major routeway” to Dewsbury – the A644 – was to be “significantly improved”.
Pressed for more detail by Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) on the authority’s aspirations to create a link road between the two motorways, Clr McBride said possibilities were being looked into.
But he cautioned that plans dating back 20 years had been discarded.
He said: “The proposal that came forward at that time – which was something like 20 years ago – was ditched because we, Kirklees Council, decided not to go forward with a scheme that would hardly benefit Kirklees.
“It did give you a better link between the two motorways but it hardly advanced the interests and needs of Kirklees.
“Subsequently we put forward a scheme which looks a lot like the northern route of one of those proposals, the difference being that it would have links into various parts of Kirklees. That is the fundamental difference.
“At the moment there is funding solely to look at the possibility of such a scheme. That’s as far as we go with it.”
The notion of an M1/M62 link is just one of several major projects being considered by Kirklees Council. Others include a bypass for Cooper Bridge, which would join the A644 Wakefield Road and run to junction 25 of the M62 at Brighouse.
In 2017 the M1/M62 link road, if green-lit, was costed at well over £100m.
It was envisaged to bypass notorious bottlenecks at Mirfield, Ravensthorpe and the Dewsbury ring road, and would involve some demolition and construction on current green spaces in order to do so.
At the meeting on November 18 Council Leader Clr Shabir Pandor said “those preferred options” would be brought to both Cabinet and Full Council for debate in future.
He added: “They’ll go through due process.”