A new link road providing improved access to Leeds Bradford Airport could cost as much as £75m, it has been revealed.
Public consultation on three options for easing traffic congestion around the airport is about to start and estimated price tags for each of the schemes have been announced for the first time. The figures on the table are:
* Up to £75m for the construction of a new road from the A65 that would run alongside the eastern edge of the airport before joining the A658 to the north;
* Up to £50m for a new road that would follow the same initial path from the A65 between Rawdon and Horsforth but would then run to the south west of the airport before joining the A658;
* Up to £15m on upgrading the existing A65 and A658 roads around Rawdon and Yeadon.
Funds for whichever project gets the green light will come from a £1.4bn transport investment programme agreed by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) at the end of last year.
It is hoped the chosen scheme will be completed during 2023.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Coun Richard Lewis, said: “The response to us releasing the outline details of the three options in September sparked a great deal of debate so now we want as many people as possible to take part in this consultation and tell us what they think.
“Leeds Bradford Airport is a key part of our current and future city and regional economy, so it is essential we make the access to and from it the best we can while also respecting and protecting the needs of the local communities, so the more people who take part in this consultation the more effective we can be in terms of making the right decisions.”
Coun Keith Wakefield, chair of the transport committee on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), said: “Improving highway access to Leeds Bradford Airport is part of a wider, £1bn-plus investment in transport infrastructure across Leeds city region, to support job creation, inward investment and economic development, and the airport is a key element of this.
“Public consultations provide an opportunity for people to give us their views at an early stage, and will continue as the chosen option is developed further.”
An online questionnaire will be running at www.leeds.gov.uk/AirportLinkRoad from Monday, November 23.
Public drop-in sessions will also be held at Leeds Civic Hall on November 24 (3pm-8pm), Horsforth Mechanics Institute on November 25 (1pm-4.30pm), Horsforth St Margaret’s Parish Centre on November 27 (3pm-8pm) and Greenacre Hall in Rawdon on November 28 (midday-3pm).
An information stall will be in place at the airport from November 23 to 29.
Copies of the questionnaire will be available at local libraries as well as the Leeds Development Enquiry Centre in the Leonardo Building off Millennium Square.
The council says it is examining the possibility of a new rail link to the airport as a “longer term” option.
Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough MP Stuart Andrew, however, believes it would be the ideal way forward for the site.
Speaking in July, he said: “I remain convinced that the only practical, long-term solution would be a rail link.”
One of the fastest growing airports in the UK, Leeds Bradford is used by more than three million passengers each year and makes an annual contribution of more than £100m to the city region economy.
Expansion plans including an enlarged passenger terminal and the development of a hotel, restaurant and shops were revealed over the summer.
The WYCA brings together Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Bradford, Calderdale and York councils plus what was Metro, West Yorkshire’s passenger transport authority.