Continue straight ahead for the A641 Full Business Case
The Outline Business Case (OBC) for this vital A641 corridor was approved this summer by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), receiving over £8m of funding from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund – and now proceeds to the Full Business Case which will be led by Sweco.
The project aims to improve travel along the A641 to enhance accessibility and connectivity for all modes of transport. It also looks to address a number of current transport related issues including traffic congestion, poor air quality and a lack of facilities for people choosing to walk and cycle. The scheme is strongly aligned with the national and regional ‘direction of travel’ in policy and strategic objectives. It is also a vision led project, adopting a ‘decide and provide’ rather than ‘predict and provide’ approach.
- A641 Bradford, Brighouse, Huddersfield Corridor Outline Business Case (OBC)
- Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council with Bradford and Kirklees Councils as partners
- Project Partners
- Bentley Project Management (Cost and Risk Managers); Pegasus Group (Town planning and heritage consultant); Cushman & Wakefield (Land and viability assessments); Galliford Try (Early Contractor Involvement); AECOM (transport modelling)
- Sweco Project leads
- David Wildman (Project Executive); Joe Charlesworth (Project Manager)
Calderdale Council, with the neighbouring authorities of Kirklees and Bradford, and with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, is developing a series of improvements to the A641 to help provide better connections for the communities along and between Huddersfield, Brighouse and Bradford. Around 100,000 residents live near or use this route. More people may use the route in the future due to planned growth from major employment, retail and housing sites.
There are a number of transport related issues in this area. These include congestion (especially around Brighouse), unreliable journey times, poor air quality, low quality public realm and the lack of safe and attractive facilities for people walking, wheeling (wheelchairs, scooters, pushchairs and mobility aids) or cycling.
There are lots of other projects in the local area including Brighouse Towns Fund, TCF bids, Environment Agency flood alleviation scheme and the Local Plan including over 3,000 homes at two garden village sites. We see the A641 as a way of physically connecting these investments, but also bringing together delivery aspects through the alignment of planning and construction schedules.
The benefit cost ratio was initially categorised as ‘poor’ which could have jeopardised funding. We were able to make a compelling strategic and economic narrative showing that the investment had a strong value for money case using latest Treasury Green Book guidance. Part of our challenge involved reimagining what the scheme could be as a whole by shifting from a predominantly highway-based brief to a multi-modal scheme opportunity.
The scheme will deliver transformational change for communities, the environment and the economy in the three key areas:
Connectivity and equality for all
- Prioritising improvement for non-car modes to support and encourage modal shift, and removing barriers and delivering improved transport and travel for all people and all modes along the corridor
- Working with other schemes such as Transforming Cities Fund, City Connect 3 and EA’s Flood Alleviation Scheme to maximise benefits
Clean growth and carbon mitigation
- Helping to unlock proposals for employment and sustainable housing growth in the Southeast Calderdale & North Huddersfield Spatial Priority Area, and at other development locations in the area
- Delivering green & healthy streets, improving quality of place and providing a net increase in SUDs, green landscaping and trees
Inclusive growth and regeneration
- Integrating with the funding secured through the Towns Fund to regenerate and enhance Brighouse town centre to make it a more accessible, attractive and active place to live, work and visit.
- Creating a greater sense of place at key locations
Two of the West Yorkshire Mayor’s 10 ‘pledges’ include:
- Build 5,000 sustainable homes including council houses and affordable homes
- Tackle the climate emergency and protect our environment
The scheme therefore includes objectives to:
- Unlock land to enable delivery of Calderdale’s Local Plan allocations – more than 600 new homes delivered across Thornhills and Woodhouse by end of 2030.
- Mitigate carbon impact of A641 scheme (tCO2e) from OBC Baseline (Spring 2022) to completion of Detailed Design at FBC (end of 2023) deliver minimum reduction of 20%
- Deliver a further reduction of 20% from end of FBC (2023) to end of construction (2025)
Outcome & benefits
The biggest tangible benefit is the securing of funding for the proposal to progress to the development of a full business case and detailed design. The A641 is an example of a new generation of transport scheme, which is about not only delivering highway capacity and reducing congestion but also unlocking a high quality green and sustainable transport infrastructure which can lead to a transformational change in travel behaviours for the growth of healthier, happier communities.
The scheme and business case received positive feedback from WYCA with the innovative collaboration model between the client, WYCA, ourselves and a contractor (early contractor involvement) being cited as an example of best practice.
This is a great example of the type of work we’ve been leading in the Local Government team, collaborating with lots of other colleagues across Sweco: A multi-modal, transformational and next-generation investment to connect communities.
From a personal perspective, I was really proud of the way we were able to take some of the new(ish) guidance from Treasury Green Book and Department for Transport and make a value for money case that was not just reliant on a BCR. I’m looking forward to working on the Full Business Case and no doubt the further challenges and opportunities this will bring.
Joe Charlesworth Technical Director at Sweco
quiet routes with low traffic flows/speeds
new or improved public realm
new or improved footways
high quality protected cycle track
new bus lanes
new or improved cycle track
junction improvements for all users
continuous footways at side roads