MAJOR changes to a heavily congested road in and out of the town centre have been opened to public scrutiny.

The A61 Wakefield Road scheme has been proposed by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and Barnsley Council to widen the carriageway at two key points between the bridge on Old Mill Lane and Carlton Road, provide a new bus lane and cycle/pedestrian pathways, and to improve bus connectivity in the area.

The hope is that the scheme will make public transport a better option for those who live and work in the area.

Wakefield Road is a busy route that links Staincross and Monk Bretton to the town centre which regularly sees a high volume of traffic - especially during rush hour.

The route was previously improved upon in 2012 with the inclusion of improved bus shelters and bus stop clearway markings, but the proposed changes will affect the layout of the road entirely.

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Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel along the route is set to grow and proposed new housing developments mean that further work is needed to ensure the flow of traffic.

The first phase of the scheme is to widen Old Mill Lane Bridge to accommodate four traffic lanes, a bus lane, and a shared cycle and pedestrian pathway.

The gyratory and Burton Road junctions will also be reconfigured to accommodate this change.

The second phase will focus on the carriageway between Smithies Lane and Carlton Road which will also be widened to include four lanes.

As a result of this change, the traffic lights and pedestrian crossings will be reconfigured which should allow traffic to move more freely while maintaining a safe space for pedestrians to cross the road.

Other factors such as environmental improvements and local wildlife have also been taken into account during the planning of the scheme. It is hoped that the environmental impact of the scheme can help the council towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

Coun Phil Lofts, from the Old Town ward, revealed he worries how the increased traffic flow could affect residents.

“I can see how the plans will positively affect traffic on Carlton Hill and at the bottom of Harborough Hill by reducing waiting time but I fail to see how adding additional lanes will reduce congestion on Wakefield Road.

“I have spoken with residents who are rightly concerned about the proposals, and while I believe something needs to be done about the volume of traffic in the area, I am not entirely convinced that adding in more lanes of traffic is necessarily the way to solve the issue.

“My duty is to make sure that the scheme doesn’t cause too many problems for residents in the area.”

The scheme will remain in its consultation period until September 3 which will give members of the public the chance to have their say on the proposals.

An online question and answer session will also be held on Thursday from 6pm to 7pm.

To have your say on the scheme visit travelsouthyorkshire.com/A61.