Long-awaited work to replace Pontefract’s notorious Town End junction with two roundabouts has begun.
The £600,000 scheme, which will see the current traffic lights system removed, started last week following completion of the Northern Link Road.
Work will be carried out in phases and is expected to take until July to complete.
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 the Wakefield district.
Coun David Dagger, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “I’m very pleased that work has now started. There have been major traffic problems for quite a few years in Pontefract.
“Town End has been a bone of contention for a while but this scheme will ease the problem of traffic congestion in Pontefract – I’m confident of that.”
The council held public consultation events outlining various options for the junction but residents chose to have a large roundabout at the junction of Mill Hill and Wakefield Road, with a smaller one at the junction of Southgate and Jubilee Way.
Work on the scheme was due to start in spring 2012 but the plans were put on hold as the council needed to buy a piece of land on Wakefield Road so the scheme could go ahead.
The land – which has now been secured – will allow a filter lane to be installed on Wakefield Road approaching the junction.
Coun Dagger said: “We have listened to the views of local people and one big and one small roundabout was the preferred option.
“But this is a different scheme completely to what we had before and it will be better than that.”
As part of the work there will be no right turn from Wakefield Road onto Mill Hill from next week. A diversion will be in place.
Coun Dagger added: “There’s no doubt there will be disruption because it is such a major scheme but we have worked hard to try and minimise this. Once complete the end result should deliver real benefits to the town so we would ask people to bear with us during the work.”
For more information call Wakefield Council on 0345 8 506506.