Sheffield City Region’s £29.8m Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) North scheme has been officially opened. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones MP, attended the ceremony at the newly constructed ‘Blackburn Meadows Way’ link road under J34 of the M1. Delivered by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Sheffield City Council, it was part financed by £15.8m from the DfT and £8.1m from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund (ERDF). BRT North’s eight mile route introduces a new link road, highway and junction modifications that provide bus priority traffic control, purpose built bus stops with real time passenger information and will be operated by modern low emission vehicles.
The ‘Blackburn Meadows Way’ link road, built on bridges over the River Don and under Tinsley Viaduct, is designed to offer a direct route for buses past local traffic congestion and support Lower Don Valley development schemes such as the Olympic Legacy Park and Ikea in creating up to 4,400 new jobs. It includes one of the largest retaining wall structures in the UK.
Andrew Jones MP said, ‘This new link between Sheffield and Rotherham will cut congestion, improve journeys, help create thousands of jobs and boost the regional economy. Up to 2m passengers are expected to use it in its first year alone, this shows how vital good bus services are to our communities.’
Nearly half a million passengers have already benefitted from the scheme’s ‘X1 Steel Link’ bus service and new infrastructure since it was introduced on 4 September 2016. The service provides high quality, frequent public transport connections between Rotherham and Sheffield in addition to improving capacity, reliability and quality on the bus network.
First South Yorkshire Head of Commercial, Allan Riggall, said, ‘Customers have welcomed the new X1 service providing a high quality, great value journey delivering improved and reliable connections. We’re delighted to have worked closely with all our transport partners in delivering such an outstanding new service that supports the region’s economic and low emission objectives whilst providing a real alternative to the car.’