MOTORISTS have been warned to expect delays over the next ten weeks whilst one of the main routes into the town centre drops to two lanes.

Work on the Old Mill Lane widening scheme is set to pick up pace in the coming days.

This will include a new bus lane, cycle paths, the relocation of a bus shelter, the removal of Asda’s recycling centre and Kaye Pepper’s memorial, who died on July 13, 1996.

The proposals, which were revealed in January 2022, include the widening of the highway to include four lanes and a separate bus lane five in total.

Following an overnight weekend closure which will take place in the next two weeks the road will reopen with two lanes of traffic instead of three for ten weeks.

Barnsley Council bosses have admitted the work will cause disruption but have asked locals for patience whilst the work takes place.

Matt O’Neill, executive director for growth and sustainability, said: “The Old Mill Lane widening scheme is a great example of the work conducted in partnership with SYMCA and the benefits this can bring to our borough.

“We appreciate that this work will cause some disruption to road users while the initial phase of the scheme takes place and I ask for the patience and co-operation of residents as the work takes place.

“However, the work will address longstanding congestion issues on the road and provide long-term benefits to residents, businesses, and road users. Further updates on the scheme will be given as the work progresses throughout the year.”

The plans have been in the pipeline for a number of years and were originally given approval in October 2022 despite numerous objections from residents which included road safety.

It’s hoped the new road layout will improve congestion at busy times for motorists.

A report said: “The route currently suffers from congestion, significant delay and journey time variation for buses and general traffic.

“Arup an engineering firm undertook a feasibility study in 2017 to assess the impacts of a range of potential interventions along the A61 corridor in Barnsley.

“The study found that the Old Mill Lane bridge is a bottleneck for southbound traffic (towards the town centre), and that the benefits of other junction improvement schemes along the corridor would only be realised once the bridge widening scheme is in place.

“The bridge widening is therefore considered to be a crucial starting point to deliver other potential interventions in the future.

“The proposed widening of the existing bridge from three lanes to five would reduce congestion and delay and improve journey time reliability.”

To minimise disruption, any associated road closures will be taking place during the night and over weekends.