Initial preparatory work on the £10.3m Hard Ings Road Improvement Scheme in Keighley has started.

Around 60 trees are currently being planted on behalf of Bradford Council by contractors WGC Landscapes Ltd. The planting in Victoria Park and on the roundabout near to the park is the first phase of replanting, to replace a small number of low-quality trees being removed as part of the scheme.

The ornamental, native trees, including maple, lime, holly, cherry and mountain ash trees will complement the established mature trees in the popular park. The programme has been timed to be as sensitive as possible to the local wildlife.

The road improvement scheme is funded through Combined Authority’s West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and is designed to reduce journey times and cut delays as well as improve air quality for road users and residents alike. It will also allow greater control over the flow of traffic through this congested part of the town.

The scheme’s main improvements include widening the road to two lanes in each direction and a new additional lane for traffic approaching the Beechcliffe roundabout on the A629, where new traffic lights will be installed. There will be improvements to the junction of Lawkholme Lane including a new toucan crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, which will be co-ordinated with the new roundabout traffic lights.

Other elements of the scheme include the replacement of street lighting along Hard Ings Road with new more efficient LED lights, replacement pavements incorporating a new, shared cycle lane, improved access for allotment holders and new landscaping. Permanent digital Variable Message Signs will also be installed to improve the information available to drivers in the area.

The scheme will include slight modifications to the access to a number of businesses and the ambulance station. Measures will be put in place throughout the construction work to ensure that access isn’t compromised.

The embankment at the cricket ground, the A629 approach to and vegetation on Beechcliffe roundabout will be cleared and a further approximately 300 replacement shrubs and trees will be planted on completion of the works.

The initial preparatory work for this major improvement scheme is expected to take around eight weeks to complete.  It will also involve the installation of the Variable Message Signs. The main construction work is scheduled to begin in May and is expected to take around 58 weeks to complete. A public consultation for the scheme took place in autumn 2016.

The West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund is supported through the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

For more information on the improvement scheme visit www.bradford.gov.uk orwww.westyorks-ca.gov.uk and search for Hard Ings Road.