Long-awaited work to turn Pontefract’s notorious Town End junction back to two roundabouts is finally expected to start in January.
Council chiefs announced last week that the work to replace the current traffic lights system – which has been in place since 1996 – would start after Christmas.
The scheme - expected to be completed by next summer – will see a large and a small roundabout installed at the junction in a bid to reduce congestion.
Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, told a full council meeting last Wednesday: “The last piece of the jigsaw for Town End is now in place.
“We had to acquire a piece of land and that’s now been done so we can go out to tender for the work, which will hopefully start in the new year.”
Council bosses first announced plans for changes at the junction in February 2011 after Town End – which had a double roundabout system until 1996 – was earmarked as a transport priority after it was found to have the worst traffic congestion levels in Wakefield district.
The council held public consultation events outlining various options for the junction, but residents chose to wind back the clock and go back to the double roundabout system.
Work on the £600,000 scheme was due to start in spring 2012 and be completed by last autumn, but the plans were put on hold as the council needed to buy a piece of land on Wakefield Road so the scheme to go ahead.
The land will allow the left hand lane on Wakefield Road approaching the junction to be extended in a bid to ease congestion.
Pontefract councillors said the announcement was “wonderful news”.
Pontefract South Coun George Ayre said: “The people of Pontefract have finally got what they wanted.
“The queues back up every day and are only getting worse. Hopefully these plans will help alleviate some of the traffic and air pollution at Town End.”
Coun Tony Dean, Pontefract South, said: “All six Pontefract councillors are absolutely delighted about these works getting the go ahead.
“It’s something the people of Pontefract were consulted on and this is what they told us they wanted.
“The work is expected to start in January and that’s because it’ll take about four months to complete and we don’t want it to disrupt Christmas trade for businesses in the town centre.”
Neil Rodgers, the council’s service director for planning, transportation and highways, said: “We are committed to improve Town End junction.”