A TWO-YEAR ‘visionary project’ is set to start next year to improve congestion at Stairfoot roundabout and other problem areas.

The council announced the launch of the A635 Stairfoot and Cundy Cross scheme last week after a borough-wide travel consultation placed the snag points as the worst in the town.

The survey which was carried out last summer highlighted that Stairfoot roundabout, Cundy Cross’ junctions and Doncaster Road, which is also on the A635, were the joint priorities for residents and businesses.

Stairfoot roundabout was named as the most congested junction across Barnsley, with almost half of all respondents naming it in their top three areas.

Other areas such as Gawber’s crossroads at Barnsley Hospital and Old Mill Lane which is set to be widened from three lanes into five in the coming years were also raised by the survey’s respondents.

Work which is due to start in February 2025 and last until 2027 promises to revamp and reconfigure Stairfoot roundabout and its connecting entry and exit lanes.

Highways bosses said the ‘visionary project’ aims to address current and forecasted congestion along the A635 corridor while enhancing the reliability of bus travel times.

Additionally, the scheme sets a target to boost pedestrian and cycling facilities in line with the council’s active travel ambitions.

Planning permission for the scheme is set to be sought as soon as April but the Chronicle can reveal that the approach to the roundabout from Wombwell Lane and Bleachcroft Way will be straightened, entry and exit lanes will be widened and shared-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists will be added.

The scheme will also make improvements to the Trans Pennine Trail, including the replacement of the bridge over Grange Lane.

Community engagement sessions will take place on Thursday and next Tuesday (January 23) at Ebenezer Wesleyan Reform Church both from 1pm until 7pm and at Library @ the Lightbox on Saturday from 10am while 2pm.

Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said: “The Stairfoot scheme signifies a pivotal step forward in our commitment to facilitating sustainable transport and enhancing our communities.

“By addressing congestion and improving transport infrastructure, we aim to create a more vibrant, accessible and environmentally-friendly travel network for our residents and visitors.

“Projected to commence construction in February 2025, the scheme’s timeline includes the submission of a planning application in April 2024, followed by the submission of a full business case for final funding approval, with construction scheduled to conclude in February 2027.

“We look forward to engaging with our community and developing sustainable transport solutions for a better-connected Barnsley.”