£6m scheme to revamp Kirkgate will get underway

Cllr Peter Box in the underpass at Kirkgate, Wakefield
Cllr Peter Box in the underpass at Kirkgate, Wakefield

Subways around Kirkgate will be filled in as part of a year-long project aimed at improving the area.

The £6m scheme to transform roads and pavements for motorists and pedestrians will get underway on Monday.

Coun Matthew Morley, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “The Kirkgate scheme will improve how people, in particular pedestrians, can access Kirkgate and is another major step forward for the area.”

The 1970s subways will be filled in and replaced by storm water storage as part of the project, which is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

A new roundabout will be installed, as well as new traffic signals to help pedestrians and cyclists cross the roads more safely.

The work, scheduled to finish next Spring, will also involve the opening up of Park Street junction to provide better access for vehicles to and from Kirkgate Railway Station and the surrounding area.

Other changes include Monk Street being paved and its junction with Brunswick Street being closed to traffic, and improved conditions for people walking and cycling between the city centre and railway station.

Coun Morley said: “Inevitably a project like this will cause some disruption, although we will do all we can to minimise it, and in the longer term it will bring great benefits for the district.

“Better access could lead to new development and investment, and be a real boost for the local community which has already seen major improvements to the train station and the opening of the new West Yorkshire Archive building.”

Work will begin at Marsh Way on Monday.

Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction at off-peak hours.

The council said to help minimise disruption, it had scheduled the work to get underway following this week’s opening of the Wakefield Eastern Relief Road, linking Aberford Road and Doncaster Road.