Thursday, December 15, 2011

News: Green light for Sheffield to Rotherham BRT scheme


A major transport infrastructure project linking the joint economy of Sheffield and Rotherham has secured £19.4m from the government.

The Northern route of the South Yorkshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme aims to improve the links between Rotherham and Sheffield passing Meadowhall, the Lower Don Valley and Templeborough.

The £34.3m project aims help to foster economic growth along the corridor by helping people access jobs and opportunities.

Bidders state that it will help to unlock 4,000 jobs in the Lower Don Valley linked to schemes such as the River Don District, the Outokumpu site and areas of Templeborough. All areas expected to benefit from the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Zone.

The scheme involves a high-frequency, limited stop service with new state-of-the-art vehicles. The main feature is a £20m alternative all transport route which bypasses the congested M1 junction 34 South by providing a new section of highway beneath the Tinsley Viaduct. The link road already has planning permission.

In addition to the interchange in Rotherham, stops are proposed for Westgate in the town centre and Bradmarsh Way and Grange Lane at Templeborough. New bus lanes and improvements such as those proposed at Ickles Roundabout and the junction of Westgate and Main Street will give buses priority and help reduce total journey times to 20 minutes.

The remainder of costs for the scheme are to be met by the European Regional Development Fund, local developers such as British Land, and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).

Key milestones include completing the compulsory purchase of land, procuring contractors and constructing the link road. It is hoped that the BRT North route will open in September 2015.

Local MP, Denis MacShane said: "These proposals have wide local support and should go some way towards reducing congestion in the short term and creating jobs in both my constituency in Rotherham and the surrounding area in the long term.

"It is long overdue investments in growth and economic infrastructure like this that will help create jobs and take people out of unemployment."

Government cuts last year meant that local authority projects were stopped in their tracks and many were asked to reduce costs. The Department for Transport (DFT) stated that it would only consider the business case for the Northern route of the BRT. The Southern route aimed to run from Sheffield city centre, along the Parkway to the proposed new development at Waverley and onto Rotherham Interchange.

The Waverley Link Road has not been successful in securing money from the DFT. The project aims to support regeneration and economic growth at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Waverley developments but it is opposed in its current form by Sheffield City Council, whose land is required for the proposed route.

The DFT sated that they recognise "that there is a case for additional capacity in this area but the currently proposed scheme does not appear to be deliverable. Rotherham Borough Council are invited to work with Sheffield and other stakeholders and to propose a resolution to the issue by 31 March 2012."

SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE


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