PREPARATORY work ahead of a major road widening scheme has started.

Old Mill Lane, on the outskirts of the town centre, will be widened from its current three lanes to five – consisting four traffic lanes, a bus lane and new shared cycle paths, footways and pedestrian crossings – over the coming years.

Trees, shrubs and bushes have been removed on the Asda side on both sides of the River Dearne to accommodate initial groundworks.

Balfour Beatty won the £5.5m contract for the work which is being delivered by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.

SYMCA director of public transport development, Pat Beijer, added: “Reducing congestion, speeding up bus journeys and making active travel and public transport more appealing is vital for the health and wellbeing of our communities, our environment and to meet our ambitious targets for clean growth.

“This important scheme will offer greener journey options and improve air quality, making Barnsley safer and quieter for everyone.”