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Road closures at Leeds ‘wind tunnel’ skyscraper costing thousands

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REPEATED closures of the Bridgewater Place road junction in Leeds have left the city council with a bill running into thousands of pounds.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council today confirmed to the Yorkshire Evening Post that each shutdown of the Water Lane-Neville Street-Victoria Road junction costs the local authority between £2,000 and £3,000.

There have been four closures of the busy junction since December alone, due to safety concerns over the ‘wind-tunnel’ effect that can grip the area around the base of the Bridgewater Place skyscraper during stormy conditions.

Contractors are paid by the council for jobs such as putting diversion signs in place and manning the closure points.

The most recent shutdown happened last Wednesday (Feb 12), when high winds saw the junction ruled out of bounds to traffic from 5pm until 1am the next day.

Another closure took place on December 5, with two more following in the period between Christmas and New Year.

A council report on the December 5 shutdown says: “The cost of physically implementing the road closure ... was approximately £3k.”

The report also says the local authority received complaints from members of the public following the closure, which led to traffic delays of up to two hours.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, the council has put forward proposals for a new safety policy at Bridgewater Place.

They include shutting its junction to traffic when wind speeds hit 45mph, rather than 65mph as has previously been the case. Pedestrian crossing points at the junction could also be closed in high winds.

The council’s plans are in line with recommendations made by the coroner at the inquest into the death of Edward Slaney, a pedestrian from Sowerby Bridge who was killed in 2011 after being crushed by a truck that had been blown off its wheels near Bridgewater Place.

 

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