Two years and £50m for new Leeds orbital
21 October 2008

The final section of a £50m inner ring road around Leeds city has opened today.

The road, which has been under construction since May 2006, should ease congestion in Holbeck and Hunslet areas as well as the city centre.

A significant part of the construction budget was spent on the John Smeaton viaduct, a 500m-long structure built with 2200 tonnes of steel beams.

“Not only will it relieve pressure from the city centre and surrounding areas, but the enhanced road network will help attract further development and investment in the city," said Andrew Carter, executive member for development and regeneration in Leeds council.

Construction on the inner ring road began in the 1970s and divided into seven stages. This is the final stage.

Another new road is also nearing completion to aid the traffic flow in and around Leeds. The East Link Ring road is due to open in December and will connect the inner ring road with the M1 motorway.

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22 October 2008

Well done to Leeds. How many more of these unfinished projects from the 70s still blight towns and cities across Britain?

One that I used to know well is in Derby where a half-finished mid-seventies inner ring road project still channels into old city back streets and makes a 'complete lap' into a nightmare. And that's if you can work out how to do it. Last time I visited they had obviously spent millions on updating the existing, completed section but nothing had been done to complete one more inch of the incomplete bit. There are still gaps in the housing where it was planned to go. Empty land in inner cities is very tempting to developers so I wonder how much has already been sold off.

Still, in 1979 they completed a bit of road planned in 1937, so it's about due for some work to be done.

There must be more of these incomplete projects across Britain. Town planning and traffic management in Britain is as stupid as it is corrupt here in Spain where the problem is how to deal with roads and buildings that should never have been built. We have one here in Fuerteventura that I use every day that crosses a protected nature reserve and services two large, illegally-built hotels. As long as money keeps going under the table, it'll stay there.

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