Construction of a congestion-busting link road between Sheffield and Rotherham is set to start ‘in the coming months’ after government and European Union funding was approved.
The £16 million route will run beneath the M1 junction 34, allowing vehicles to bypass congested roundabouts at either end of Tinsley Viaduct.
The investment is part of the £30 million North Bus Rapid Transit scheme, which aims to reduce journey times on public transport.
Planning permission has already been granted – and the approval of £15.9 million from the Government and £8m from the EU has now meant the project can begin.
The rest of the funding is coming from Sheffield and Rotherham councils and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive.
Construction of the link road and bus priority measures elsewhere in the Lower Don Valley, is set to start in 2014 with the route open in autumn 2015.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “The road has been a long time coming so it is a relief to finally be able to get construction of this much-needed route off the ground now we have confirmation of this funding.
“The scheme will be a great catalyst to boost economic links in the area by stimulating economic regeneration in the Lower Don Valley, improving transport and helping to address air quality.”
The investment in infrastructure could create up to 4,000 jobs, the council believes.
Progress on the scheme was also welcomed by Coun Ian Auckland, Sheffield Council’s opposition Liberal Democrat transport spokesman.
He said: “This project will help to build a stronger local economy as well encouraging people to travel in safe and sustainable manner.”
A ‘high quality, limited stop’ bus service running every 10 minutes is to be launched along the bus rapid transit route between Sheffield and Rotherham in September 2015.
David Young, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive’s deputy interim director general, said: “We are delighted to have received confirmation of funding.
“Together with the planned tram-train pilot between Sheffield and Rotherham, the project will help to link the economies of Rotherham and Sheffield.”