Queues ‘halved’ at Town End junction

The new layout at the junction.
The new layout at the junction.
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Queuing times have fallen in Pontefract town centre after a major traffic improvement scheme.

Work to reduce congestion at the busy Town End junction on the A645 was completed year.

And Wakefield Council said the removal of the traffic light signals and creation of a new double roundabout had succeeded in reducing queues and delays.

The council carried out traffic surveys in November 2014, before the work was carried out, and in February 2016, when it was finished.

It said results showed queuing times had fallen at each of the four roads which converge at Town End, in peak periods, and waiting times on some had more than halved.

Coun Matthew Morley, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “I am very pleased that this improvement work has made a difference and is helping residents to move more efficiently through the district.”

The traffic surveys found the queue in the offside lane at Jubilee Way had halved for much of the busy afternoon period.

And at Southgate the offside lane queue was five times shorter than in 2014.

At Mill Hill Road the queues had fallen from 800m to 100m in the morning peak, and from 800m to 400m during the late afternoon peak.

And queues dropped from 200m to 50m at Wakefield Road.

The study also revealed that traffic volumes had risen by six percent between 2014 and 2016, with more than 30,000 vehicles now passing through the junction each day.

The council said air quality is also being assessed and is continuing to improve at the junction.

Transport bosses at the council earmarked Town End, which had a double roundabout system until 1996, as a transport priority after it was found to have the worst traffic congestion levels in Wakefield district.

Plans for changes to the layout were first announced in February 2011.

‘The work was worth the wait’

The £600,000 road scheme aimed to cut traffic queues and delays on approach to the junction and provide better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.

Work started on the project last March, following the completion of the Northern Link Road.

The new layout was originally due to be finished last July but was delayed first until the end of October and then for a second time.

And the scheme was completed in December.

Sir Bill O’Brien, secretary of the Pontefract Town Centre Partnership said movement at the junction was “quicker and better”.

He said: “This is one of the areas where we have succeeded in improving the traffic situation in Pontefract.

“The scheme was delayed for years and for various reasons but it was worth the wait in the end and Town End is much better. We don’t have as much pollution either, with cars no longer sitting for two or three minutes with fumes from their exhausts. We are very pleased.”

Coun Celia Loughran, for Pontefract South added: “It has been a major investment in our town and I think people recognise that. It has made a significant change in travel times going through town and really a lot of people have been delighted by the improvements and speed.”

She said the junction was still being monitored to ensure the safety of pedestrians.