Work has begun on the most significant phase of demolition works of the former Punchbowl pub building at Salterhebble, outside Halifax, as part of phase 1b of the A629 corridor improvement programme.
The pub has been closed, and the building empty, for many years and was in poor condition, both inside and out. The building has been acquired by Calderdale Council and is now being demolished to enable the road to be widened and realigned, reducing congestion on the busy A629.
The demolition work is being carried out by the contractor John Sisk & Son. Work started with internal stripping, which saw plasterboard, partition walls and toilets and any other fixed items being removed. After this, using a machine with powerful jaws, work started on the outside to demolish the external walls.
The whole process will be complete in around three weeks’ time. Timbers, roof slates and other appropriate materials will all be recycled, and all debris will be removed from the site.
The removal of the building is part of works to completely transform the road layout, providing two continuous lanes for traffic all the way from Ainley Top roundabout to beyond Calderdale Royal Hospital, removing the current pinch point.
The project aims to improve road safety and journey times between Huddersfield and Halifax and will also include improved facilities for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists. Improving the efficiency of the A629 is forecast to reduce ‘rat-running’ through adjacent communities such as Elland, West Vale, Siddal, Exley, Copley and Skircoat.
The project will involve further significant work throughout 2022, including the building of a new bridge and link road between the A629 and Stainland Road, spanning the Calder and Hebble Navigation. A new roundabout will be created at the junction with Stainland and work will take place to repair and widen the Hebble Brook bridge at Salterhebble.
Throughout the works, turning restrictions and a number of lane closures are in place for safety reasons, along with the full closure of Exley Bank at the junction with the A629. Access for residents only is being maintained from the Backhold Lane side of the road and signage is in place.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Strategy, Cllr Jane Scullion, said:
“The demolition of the former Punchbowl pub is a very visible sign of improvement work along the A629. The pub building has been an eyesore at the gateway to Halifax town centre for some time and its removal, as part of major improvement works, will improve the look and layout of this area.
“This exciting phase of the A629 improvement project, with the impressive link road bridge, is one of the most complex engineering schemes ever carried out by the Council. The £28.1 million, West Yorkshire Combined Authority funded project will improve the route between Halifax and Huddersfield, making investment in the area more attractive and supporting our local economy.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“Making our transport network work for people is at the heart of my Mayoral pledges, which is why I’m delighted this scheme will make it easier to walk, cycle and use public transport, as well as reducing journey times for people travelling by car between Huddersfield and Halifax.
“It is more important than ever that we continue to invest in a modern, accessible transport network, which supports economic growth by connecting more people with jobs, training and education.”
The A629 Phase 1b scheme has received over £28million funding through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund, and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of Government investment through the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
For more information on this and other regeneration projects in Calderdale, visit www.calderdalenextchapter.co.uk(external link).
To watch a film of the demolition works, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gm3fl07QXo(external link) (footage credited to John Sisk & Son)