End of the road for junction?

Town End traffic lights Pontefract
Town End traffic lights Pontefract

PLANS to end traffic misery at Pontefract’s controversial Town End junction are underway, according to council chiefs.

Coun Denise Jeffrey, Wakefield Council’s deputy leader, said design work was due to start in September to replace the traffic lights at the junction with a double roundabout.

Construction work on the £600,000 scheme is provisionally scheduled to start in spring next year and could be completed by autumn 2013.

Town End – which became a signalised junction in 1996 – replacing two mini-roundabouts – will be reconstructed in a layout similar to the one it replaced, including one small and one large roundabout.

The nightmare junction was earmarked as a “transport priority” last year by the council after it was found to have the worst congestion in the district.

Coun Jeffrey said: “Town End has been an issue for years and we had a consultation with the public, so we’re going to put in a roundabout.

“We’re doing it is because the people overwhelmingly asked us to do it. It was changed years ago, before my time and it’s caused so much controversy.

“We all get held up in it and I hope this new scheme will alleviate the traffic. We had hundreds of people involved and we’re listening to what they say.”

Pontefract South Coun Geoff Walsh said a firm date needed to be set for work to begin.

He said: “At last, there’s movement, and that’s really good news. Any progress on this is really welcomed.

“We have been waiting an awfully long time to get it started so it would be great to get a date for construction.

“It’s going to improve access for people getting in and out of Pontefract and that’s going to take away some of the frustration and grief this junction has caused.”

Council chiefs decided to reinstall a double roundabout in February this year following months of public consultation.

Alternative layouts were showcased at events and residents filled out questionnaires with their preferred choice.

Coun Jeffrey said the reconstruction was part of a five-year masterplan for Pontefract which would see millions of pounds pumped into restoring and preserving the town’s heritage.