City Region bids for £220m to improve transport network

Convention of the North
Dan Jarvis

Proposals for changes to Sheffield City Region’s transport network, projected to cost up to £220m, are being submitted to Government.

The bid focuses on three large areas which could most benefit from significant improvements across rail, public transport and active travel schemes. The aim is to reduce journey times, cut congestion, improve punctuality and reliability, and bring about a wide range of benefits associated with active travel, such as improved health and wellbeing.

The three areas the bid focuses on are the River Don “corridor” between Sheffield city centre and the Unity site north of Doncaster; the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham, and the Dearne Valley Corridor, spanning Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster and including key employment sites such as the Barnsley Digital Campus and M1 Junction 36.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “It is critical that we improve the transport system in our region, to create better access to major employment sites, reduce congestion, better integrate different modes of transport and make our transport network fit for the 21st century.

“That’s why it’s so important that we get this Transforming Cities Fund bid right, and why we’ve been working closely with partners across South Yorkshire to ensure that our bid has real potential to drive transformational change for our communities.

“Improving our transport links is crucial for growing our economy as we develop a Global Innovation Corridor, linking residents and businesses to our internationally-significant assets in areas such as advanced manufacturing, health and wellbeing, and engineering.

“I now look forward to working with the Department for Transport as we develop our detailed plans.”

This comes after SCR became one of the 10 areas in the UK to be shortlisted for a share of the TCF.

In order to develop the business case, a Project Board was then established, led by the SCR Executive Team and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), which considered potential schemes put forward by the four local authorities in South Yorkshire.

Schemes included as part of the River Don programme include a potential new connection into the iPort site from Rossington, for buses and active travel; better walking and cycling routes in Armthorpe; bus priority measures at key junctions in Doncaster; walking and cycling schemes to connect communities in Adwick and Bentley to their local rail stations and connecting Maltby to Rotherham town centre with bus lanes and junction improvements.

In the Dearne Valley, plans include bus lanes and junction improvements on the A61; a Bus Rapid Transit scheme between Barnsley and Doncaster; bus priority measures on the A630; improved access between Mexborough town centre and the rail station; active travel improvements between Barnsley and Rotherham town centres and the Dearne Valley; and creating a new access into Parkgate, as well as a new 300-space park and ride site.

In the AMID programme, projects will include providing a new station on the tram-train network at Magna; improving active travel facilities; improving Darnall railway station and trialling low-emission buses.

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones said: “We must develop a more modern integrated transport system which helps people benefit from the education, employment, social and leisure opportunities in Doncaster.

“Added to that, walking and cycling as healthy ways to travel should be encouraged. This bid, if successful, will realise much-needed improvements to our bus and rail network.”