A HUGE investment package totalling almost £40m which promises to improve Barnsley’s road network over the next three years has broken cover.

Cabinet members will be asked to sign off on plans to allocate £14.2m in 2024/25 and £12.4m in both 2025/26 and 2026/27 at a meeting on Wednesday.

The Chronicle can reveal that the majority of the cash in the current financial year - more than £5m - will be spent on resurfacing key routes such Wakefield Road, which connects the town centre to the border at Staincross, as well as Sheffield Road in Hoyland, Barnsley Road in Hoylandswaine, Church Lane in the town centre, Station Road in Darton and Barugh Lane, Barugh Green.

Six-figure sums will also be allocated to improving drainage, footpaths, traffic signals, street lights, bridges and repairing paving in the town centre on Shambles Street.

However, planned work for this year could be moved if it’s deemed ‘accelerated deterioration’ is found on the network elsewhere, with a ‘worst-first’ stance set to be employed by highways bosses.

A report said: “The adopted highway, managed by the council as the local highway authority in Barnsley, is the single-highest value asset the council owns.

“The programme was created based upon the collection of data about carriageway defects, inspections and infrastructure surveys to form a list of prioritised, potential locations that require remedial treatment.

“A site inspection at each location was undertaken to determine the most appropriate treatment and priority, together with engineering judgement.

“As is always the case with any programme made up of a high number of individual projects, and with the uncertainty of decision-making for works to be undertaken so far in the future, there is a significant likelihood that works could be re-programmed and carried forward into future years.

“A further risk is the unknown severity of the winter period in 2024/25 and the level of response that this could necessitate.”

Funding set aside by the government for the now-scrapped northern legs of its HS2 train programme have been redirected, the report confirms, which will see Barnsley receive an additional £4m per annum to 2033/34.

The Department for Transport expects local authorities to invest this funding in additional highway maintenance activities, it said.

“The continued development of improvements to the existing highway network and measures will improve road safety and alleviate delay issues for the public travelling on the network, whilst improving air quality,” the report added.

“High-quality maintenance of the highway network creates equally high-quality transport links, which creates awareness that Barnsley is a more attractive place for both business creation and business relocation.

“Working on such strategic and high-profile locations brings several challenges but the greatest challenge is to overcome the potential for significant disruption on the network to the residents of Barnsley, given the number and locations of the schemes.”

Resurfacing work has been completed on key town centre roads including Westway, Townend roundabout, Sackville Street, Dodworth Road, Keresforth Hall Road and Victoria Road.

Similar schemes elsewhere have improved Spark Lane in Mapplewell, Dearne Hall Road in Barugh Green, Sheffield Road in Springvale and Carlton’s crossroads.

Safety improvements, long called for by residents on Burton Road in Monk Bretton, have also been completed, which includes a series of ‘speed cushions’ and other features, have been installed to reduce vehicle speeds and improve road safety.

A council spokesperson said: “Each year, Barnsley Council invest millions of pounds into repairing our roads, with the areas in greatest need being the ones that are prioritised for investment.

“We know works may cause temporary inconveniences, but we’re confident the long-term benefits for the community outweigh short-term disruptions.”