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Leeds: M1 improvement works delayed by downturn

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LEEDS city council is getting an extension to its previous deadline to make millions of pounds of improvements to Junction 45 and 46 of the M1 motorway by December 2015.

The £8m of work was part of a package of negotiations for the building of the £32m East Leeds Link Road, the dual carriageway which links Leeds city centre to junction 45 of the M1.

At the time the agreement was signed with the Government back in 2006, 60 per cent of new housing developments on nearby major sites was supposed to be completed by 2015.

However the economic downturn stalled much of that development, and the projects “will not be achieved for some time”.

It means the motorway works - which include the widening of the Northbound slip road and form phase two of a wider programme of improvements - will now be delayed indefinitely.

Rather than setting a new deadline, highways bosses will instead monitor traffic flow in order to determine a “trigger point” of traffic levels when the work will be needed. However efforts will be made to avoid reaching that trigger point, the idea being to ensure the work is “only implemented if and when necessary”.

A new report to the council’s director of city development says: “In 2006, the date of 2015 was determined to be the point at which about 60 per cent of the development from the adjacent sites would be built. The economy and development market has stalled since 2007 and the level of development will not be achieved for some time. Given the unpredictability of the development rates on the adjacent sites, the current proposal is to determine a trigger point of traffic levels at which the works are required, rather than predict a future date at which this level will be reached. By having a known trigger point rather than a commitment set to a future date, there is the opportunity for Leeds City Council to manage demand on the network to ensure the trigger point flow is not reached.”
The report adds: “The Highways Agency have agreed the improvements are not needed in the timescales set out, due to slower than anticipated development alongside the ELLR.” It says the trigger point is “likely to be reached at 70 percent of development at the consented sites” and the work will eventually be funded through the newly created West Yorkshire Transport Fund.

 

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