Leeds: Works back on the road to completion

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Roads bosses say a £500,000 overhaul of a north Leeds thoroughfare is on track for completion despite months of delays which saw it drag on for a year – and twice the original scheduled time.

The work on Roundhay Road, which includes a new two-plus lane, better bus and cycle lanes and new pedestrian lights, started in February and was due to finish by August.

The recent arctic weather and an unscheduled six-week delay to put in a new gas main have added to road users' woes – and brought the route to daily bouts of gridlock.

The work is now scheduled to finish at the end of January.

Businessman Bikram Singh, who own the Raja's restaurant, said the ongoing project, which starts near the old Fforde Green pub and leads past the Tesco megastore into Oakwood, was increasingly looking like a "waste of taxpayers' money".

He said the road had been tarmacced, dug up and re-tarmacced in recent weeks and the ongoing work was causing daily traffic nightmares on the busy route.

"They have done it up to three times," he said.

"The last time was just before the snow started.

"They are tarmaccing it and then digging it up and there has been no explanation. I think they forgot to ask the utility company.

"It is a busy road and there is always a queue. I am just concerned, as a citizen, at the waste of public money."

The council confirmed the project had been delayed by unscheduled work on the gas mains as well as the recent inclement weather.

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: "Work started to improve cycle and bus facilities and install new traffic signals along Roundhay Road in February 2010 and was due to finish by August.

"Unfortunately unscheduled work to the gas mains – which meant all work had to stop for more than six weeks – and the recent bad weather has meant the project has been delayed until the end of January.

"A small section of a new foot way – no longer than 10m – was dug up on one occasion for the gas work to go ahead but this was repaired and paid for by the utility company. We are working to complete the improvements as quickly as we can so Roundhay Road is fully open again

as soon as possible."

Delays arose when utility company Northern Gas Networks was asked to re-direct the mains gas supply, but found it needed to do further underground work.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: "As part of the original works we have had to divert a main (pipe] but in doing that digging it was found that parts of the pipe were more shallow than they now need to be. So we had to do further work to re-lay the main to a deeper level."

HELPING HAND: Ben Wilson, MD at MPM, with Victoria Hopkins, MD at Hopkins Catering. PIC: Tony Johnson

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