West Yorkshire to see wider M1 in transport boost

Traffic jam Plans to widen the M1 will aim to relieve major congestion spots

Investment in West Yorkshire's transport infrastructure has been unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne in the Autumn Statement.

The M1 will be widened between junctions 39 and 42, with an extra lane to increase capacity.

The North TransPennine railway will be electrified, cutting journey times between Leeds and Manchester.

Two railway stations will be built at Apperley Bridge in Bradford and at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds.

BBC News: Autumn Statement

BBC Yorkshire's transport correspondent Alan Whitehouse said plans to widen the M1 were being brought forward by a couple of years to relieve major congestion spots.

"It's a scheme called the Managed Motorway, already being installed on the M62," he said.

"It's all about creating an extra lane for traffic from the hard shoulder, with a series of overhead gantries to display mandatory speed limits and lane closures, all linked back to a control centre.

"The idea is that this is every bit as safe to drive on as a conventional motorway but you increase the capacity by creating an extra lane.

TransPennine route

Switching the North TransPennine train line from diesel to electric over the coming decade will see the journey from Leeds to Manchester cut from one hour to 45 minutes.

Neil McLean of local enterprise partnership Leeds City Region said the improved connections between West Yorkshire and the North West would be a "transformational shot in the arm to the economic fortunes of the North".

Chancellor George Osborne said the government would ensure a £17m fund was raised to build the stations at Apperley Bridge and Kirkstall, benefiting thousands of commuters.

Metro chairman James Lewis said the new train stations could be operational by the end of 2014 and would aid West Yorkshire's economy.

"A new rail station is a key element of the Kirkstall Forge development site, which will support 2,400 new jobs and lever £350m of new investment into the area," he said.

"A new station at Apperley Bridge will be used by around 125,000 passengers each year and will remove 200,000 car journeys from busy local roads annually."

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