A congestion-busting one-way traffic system in Keighley town centre will be operational by 2015.
That was the message this week from Bradford Council transport bosses, who said initial feasibility work is complete and detailed designs will be drawn up this year.
The scheme – which will see East Parade, Hanover Street and Cavendish Street turned into a one-way network – has been widely welcomed. Campaigners have been calling for action for years to tackle Keighley’s chronic traffic snarl-ups.
Councillor Graham Mitchell – chairman of Keighley Town Council’s watch & transport committee – said the venture was not necessarily the ideal solution, but would provide benefits.
“The ‘big solution’ to all the traffic problems would be a bypass, but that won’t happen – it’s impossible to see where you could realistically build one,” he said.
“A western one would be totally out of the question, and an eastern route would involve bridging the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and the River Worth.
“We therefore have to look at a scaled-down option, and the best we have come up with is the one-way system, which will provide some measurable benefit in the town centre.”
Coun Mitchell added: “The problem with Keighley is there are too many vehicles on the network. But if we can keep traffic flowing in the centre, there won’t be the long queues on roads heading in.
“The alternative is to do nothing, and the situation would just get worse and worse.”
Stuart Hastings, owner of Metro Taxis in Church Street, Keighley, welcomes the scheme.
“Keighley desperately needs it, and we’ve been arguing for it for years. Not everybody will be in favour, but it will suit most people.
“At present, it’s horrendous trying to drive through town. This scheme will help keep traffic flowing and cut delays.”
Steve Seymour, manager of Keighley’s Airedale Shopping Centre and chairman of the Town Centre Association, agrees action is needed.
“I’ve seen the proposal and it has to be welcomed,” he said.
“It won’t be long until the new Worth Valley Shopping Centre opens, and that will add to the traffic problems. The sooner the one-way system is in place, the better.”
Bradford Council has already dedicated almost £1.5 million to the project, which will see East Parade restricted to southbound traffic, Hanover Street northbound and Cavendish Street eastbound. Keighley Area Committee gave its blessing to the proposal last year.