ONGOING work to create a controversial new one-way road system - despite almost 3,000 locals lodging their objections - is becoming a safety issue which needs to be urgently addressed, according to a councillor.
Blighted by controversy since the local authority announced the A628 Dodworth Road scheme, which controversially cuts through Penny Pie Park, Coun Peter Fielding believes the situation is worsening.
The work - according to Barnsley Council’s highways bosses - is due to be completed in March 2022, but Coun Fielding says residents have been subjected to ‘unacceptable levels’ of noise, dust and traffic.
He added: “It is now over two years since Penny Pie Park was unceremoniously shut off to residents in order to allow the construction of the very unpopular gyratory road junction on the park.
“The project is piling even more misery on the residents just when the end seemed in sight.
“Street lights have been missing for a number of weeks, making the footpaths dangerous for pedestrians, unsafe for lone females and a spate of break-ins and attempted break-ins have been attributed to the unusually dark streets.
“I have been urging the project team to get the lights back on for weeks now, but to no avail - this is just not good enough and is putting local residents’ safety at risk.
“The works are now eventually expected to be completed some time in late March 2022 so residents will be hoping there are no more unwelcome surprises in the remaining three or so months.
“It will still be some time after that before the remaining green space is ready for residents to access, meaning the park will have been totally inaccessible for over two-and-a-half years - not quite the temporary closure the signs proclaim.”
Locals say there has been a ‘dramatic increase’ in night-time working - from 8pm to 5am, they claim - and ‘little effort’ has gone in to minimise the noise.
Original estimates saw £4.3m set aside for its completion but a further £3.053m was granted before last Christmas.
Coun Fielding added: “None of this was envisaged when the project was passed but the attitude now seems to be that residents will just have to put up with it.
“I have also learned recently that the number of bus stops in the area will reduce because of the gyratory as the council are refusing to allow any bus stops on it.
“This lack of bus stops will inevitably deter local residents from using buses at a time when we should be making it easier for them to choose to use the bus.
“I think residents have been badly let down by the council for the past two years.”
The council confirmed the scheme is now entering its final stages and the gyratory will be opened in phases over the coming months.
Coun Tim Cheetham, cabinet spokesperson for place (regeneration and culture), said: “To date, most of the construction works for this scheme have been contained within the site boundary to create the gyratory.
“During January 2022, the scheme will enter the final phases: there will be more activity seen off-site due to the partial opening of the gyratory.
“Works will include connecting the existing road to the new gyratory - to enable this to happen, the gyratory will be opened in phases that will coincide with the switching on of the new traffic controls during the spring.
“The main works contract is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
“The council would like to thank residents in advance for their patience and understanding as we approach the most complex and final phases of works.
“We look forward to the completion of the project, which is vital to support our future business and housing growth plans, and improve access to our new town centre.
“All up-to-date project information, including details of the temporary traffic management announcements, can be found on our ‘key projects’ webpage.”