£13m investment boost set for district’s roads

Wakefield Council will be investing £13 million in improving and maintaining the district’s roads and footpaths over the next year if key decision makers give it the go ahead.

A report before the Cabinet, on 15 March, outlines how the money would be spent and includes plans to improve road safety and create better places to live, through improvement works.

The annual road work programme is designed to maintain and improve the vast highway network. A key part of this is looking after main and estate roads which covers over 932 miles (1500km). A planned approach enables the Council to assess and prioritise the necessary work to prolong the life of the roads as well as respond to safety issues – delivering the best value for money for residents.

Nearly £4 million (£3.65m) has been allocated to a new project to upgrade road signs and roadside grass verges.

£3 million will be spent over three years, to create hardened verges to accommodate off the road parking, in areas where not having any can cause problems for buses, and to provide safe and accessible parking to stop damage to verges, landscaping, plants, and animal life.

£650,000 has been earmarked for signage to replace existing and missing signs, road marking and reflective studs. A dedicated team will be created to clean all non-illuminated signs.

There are approximately 18,000 signs on the district’s roads and poor signage can cause accidents and longer journey times for drivers who get lost.

The report before Cabinet also sets out key work for road safety improvement schemes, that contribute to making the roads safer and reducing reliance on vehicles, by putting the needs of people before those of vehicles when designing infrastructure.

This will be achieved either through road safety engineering measures, parking, or traffic controls. There are projects to improve and encourage active travel through walking and cycling solutions, and inclusive and accessible links to public transport.

Matthew Morley smiling
Cllr Mathew Morley

Cllr Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways, said: “Keeping our roads up to scratch is a top priority to keep everyone moving around our district.  

“This additional investment allows us to deliver improvements that will be community focused and that promote safer walking, cycling and links to public transport. These plans will reduce congestion and improve local air quality.”

Funding for roads and transport in the region has shifted from national government to the West Yorkshire City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS). This follows the election of the first West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracey Brabin. The process is still ongoing, but Wakefield Council has been advised they will receive £8.4 million to spend from April 2022 to April 2023.

Cllr Morley added: “We are pleased that we have secured this investment to ensure our roads, footpaths and paths are as well-maintained as possible across our district. However, there will always be more that needs to be done and we will continue to prioritise those areas most in need.”

Members of Cabinet are meeting on Tuesday 15 March at 10.30am. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.