Bridge is set to be torn down
A BRIDGE spanning the M62 is to be demolished, cutting Scholes off from Cleckheaton for nine months.
The Highways Agency says it would not be economical to repair the bridge at Whitechapel Road and the only option is to replace it.
Consultation has now begun and it is expected that the work will begin in late June. It will take around three weeks to demolish the bridge, but it will be another 42 weeks before its replacement is open.
Its closure means that drivers and pedestrians face a one mile detour via Scholes Lane, Halifax Road and Moorside to get to and from Cleckheaton town centre.
Ward councillor Kath Pinnock said: "It is the main road from Scholes to Cleckheaton – it's an important route for local people and particularly problematic in that Whitcliffe Mount School and Whitechapel schools are on one side of the bridge and children living in Scholes are on the other.
"We've had three meetings with the Highways Agency, the contractors A-One+ and Kirklees Highways and there's no doubt the bridge, which is almost 40 years old, has to be replaced.
"But together we have worked to try and minimise the disruption to people and provide alternatives.
"They've agreed to put back the work until schools exams are done, and a new shuttle bus will operate for those living on the Albert Morton Pavilion side of the bridge."
Temporary traffic lights will also be installed at the junction of Moorside and Halifax Road to cope with the extra traffic and the contractors have agreed to inform people whenever they will be working late at night.
"It will have a significant effect, particularly for the people of Scholes but we are doing our best in reducing the impact," Coun Pinnock added.
Letters have been sent to residents and consultation meetings are planned at Whitcliffe Mount school.
Highways Agency project manager Steve Wright said: "The Highways Agency's primary consideration is for the safety of the travelling public. Investigations have shown it would not be economical to repair the bridge and our only option is to replace it.
"During the works drivers are advised to plan their journey and allow extra time when travelling on the diversion routes.
"Once the works are complete the new bridge will restore an important link between local communities and far reduce the need for any future bridge works."