Cooper Bridge – a major highway junction upgrade

Cycle Kirklees made a detailed response to the Cooper Bridge planned upgrade. Where Kirklees Council’s’ plans included some protection for bicycle riders and with it some improvements we still had concerns. When we met officers these points were well received. Since then the scheme has been reviewed by Kirklees Scrutiny Committee. The Cooper Bridge junction has been resurfaced, with the loss of some of cycle lanes.

The Cooper Bridge corridor is the main arterial route from North Kirklees to Huddersfield. It acts as a pinch point as it brings in traffic on the A644 from Mirfield, Brighouse and the M62, and the A62 from Liversedge and Heckmondwike.

The current provision for cyclists is ‘shared use’ footway, which is in poor condition, littered with street furniture, and has missing dropped kerbs. With the high traffic levels and poor infrastructure, the situation for people on bicycles through these junctions is sadly a deterrent to those wanting to start using bicycles.

In June, Kirklees Council brought a scheme to consultation for improvements to the Cooper Bridge corridor. The focus of the scheme appears to be to increase highway capacity to enable vehicular traffic to move more quickly through the principal junctions at Cooper Bridge and at Bradley Road/Leeds Road junction, thereby reducing journey times. Cycle provision was added on in what seemed more of a ‘goodwill gesture’ than an attempt to increase bicycle use.

In our detailed response we took into account three large-scale housing development proposals at Bradley Park, South Dewsbury Riverside and Clifton Park, all of which would increase motor traffic in the area.

Where Kirklees Council’s plans included some protection for bicycle riders, and with it some improvement on the current state, we still had concerns.

Main concerns:
• The eastbound bicycle route had gaps in protection and unnecessary points of conflict.
• To travel through from one end of this scheme to the other would require up to 12 separate road crossings.
• There were poor links to the proposed Bradley to Brighouse canal greenway route.
• Sub-standard provision on Bradley Road.

What we suggested:
• Retaining a one-way track running eastbound behind the parking on Leeds Road or expanding the proposed two-way cycle route so that in ran end to end.
• Improved cycle access to the Bradley Brighouse greenway.
• Redesigning Bradley Road to included protected cycle tracks.

On the 4th of October we were invited to a meeting with the design team to review an amended design and we felt we secured some commitments.

Though the design team were not able to put a one-way track behind parking, they had made changes to the plans including a two-cycle track that runs through a protected junction between Oak Road and Leeds Road. This has decreased the number of crossings and we have asked that other crossings are streamlined.

However, no changes had been proposed for Bradley Road, which we understand will be reviewed in the future with the view to upgrade the facilities. Until then no physical changes will be made along its length.

Cooper Bridge A 62 Consultation Kirklees Cycling Campaign Submission pdf