Woodhouse Tunnel works: Two years of pain for long term gain?

Seen better days. Inner Ring Road pic courtesy Ryan Davies

Seen better days. Inner Ring Road pic Feb 2013, courtesy Ryan Davies

Looks like there’s going to be a lot of short (ish)-term pain for long-term gain on some of the city’s roads over the next couple of years.

Leeds council announced today that essential strengthening work on Woodhouse Tunnel is set to begin next month after funding approval was confirmed.

The work can now go ahead after the Department of Transport formally approved funding of £16.34million for the project, which is part of a wider £24.96m maintenance scheme of improvements to the Leeds Inner Ring Road (A58M).

The council says work is needed to address deterioration of the tunnel caused by more than 40 years of wear and tear which if unresolved would result in the Inner Ring Road needing to be closed within five years for safety reasons.

The project is expected to last approximately two years, with the majority of the works being carried out at night from 7pm-6am Sunday to Thursday during which times the tunnel will be fully closed.

Further information and updates will also be published on the scheme webpage.

Metro chief Cllr James Lewis

Metro chief Cllr James Lewis

News of the scheme was greated with an ecstatic response from Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis. In a statement, he said:

“Since it was built in the 1960s and 1970s, [the road] has contributed to the economic success of Leeds by taking non-essential traffic away from the city centre, making it a better place to do business and contributing to the growth in the retail sector.

“The road succeeds in taking people to the places they actually need to be, and a similar philosophy drove the development of the new Leeds Station Southern Entrance, which will make it easier for people to reach destinations south of the River Aire.

“Funding to complete these essential road repairs is a welcome boost to freight and private car users as well as to the many bus passengers whose city centre journeys are easier because of it. With the Southern Entrance project also awaiting final funding approval from the Department for Transport, two major boosts to the economic potential of the city could be delivered in the next few years.”

Before they let the cars in. Inner Ring Rd 1967. Pic from jb303 Flickr

Before they let the cars in. Inner Ring Rd 1967. Pic from jb303 Flickr

It’s always good when a road actually ‘takes you where you need to be’! Although the sceptical jury’s still out whether the new Southern Entrance at Leeds Station is anything but a white elephant.

Apparently work on Woodhouse Tunnel will be suspended completely when the Tour de France comes to the city in July 2014, and the council says it’s working with the Leeds Arena to minimise any impact on events held at the venue.

Meanwhile, the council has also announced that work will be carried out to improve the road surface at the White Cross Roundabout in Guiseley next week.


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6 Responses to Woodhouse Tunnel works: Two years of pain for long term gain?

  1. oludenizdollz says:

    As opposed to a road which takes people where no-one needs to be. Yes I’m thinking of the proposed East Leeds Orbital Road which will deliver people to the Thorpe Park out of town retail development otherwise known as the complete departure from Leeds City Councils own policies Park.

  2. Pingback: Leeds today: building, markets, strangers, development, privatisation, floods, bikes, debt and spooky goings-on. | Beyond Guardian Leeds

  3. Dave says:

    So, now the Arena is finally open, the council plan to close the main route for getting people to and from events. More joined up thinking, obviously. Lots of people visiting the Arena for the first time will get caught up in this and will swear never to return again.
    Another favourite trick of the council’s which they are sure to repeat is to close the Inner Ring Road but not erect any signs or warning that they’ve done so until you reach the former YEP building, when you are diverted up onto Park Lane and thence the Loop by way of a diversion. Needless to say this is usually gridlocked (and certainly was before the Arena opened). A couple of signs on the M621 before the exit onto the Ingram Distributor could have easily diverted traffic around the south of the city and back onto the A64 avoiding any congestion, but it was never done.

  4. Leeds has always been a nightmare to navigate quickly as soon as you get anywhere near the city center they just making it worse!

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