One man who saw the wisdom of building a road infrastructure to deal with high volumes of traffic passing through Halifax and to provide convenient links to the M62.
That man was prominent town councillor John Burdock.
Burdock Way, the modern flyover system, was opened in 1973 to take the A58 and A629 traffic over the River Hebble.
Peter Tuffrey: From The Yorkshire Post Archive
Faced with the problem of very high volumes of through traffic in its town centre, and with the impending construction of the M62 too far to the south to provide relief for the town, Halifax needed a bypass. The steep sided valley that the town centre inhabits prevented a conventional road from being built around the town, and so in the early 1970’s construction began on Burdock Way – one of the most adventurous relief road schemes built in Britain, certainly by a town the size of Halifax.
Only one phase of the futuristic road was ever built, but what exists is a partially grade-separated dual carriageway that runs through deep trenches and over tall viaducts close to the heart of the town. At its eastern end is a truly byzantine piece of traffic engineering that stretches the definition of a roundabout to its limit.
In October 1971 the official celebrations went anything but according to plan. It had been decided to give the people of Halifax a half day holiday so they could attend the opening, but there were not enough police on duty to control the sightseers. It was impossible to get complete silence for the speeches and arrangements to tell the artillery guns at Southowram Road when to fire broke down. They were fired prematurely while an archdeacon was offering prayers. The Mayor, HC McCrae, finally managed to announce that the bridge was officially open and he scurried back to the town hall where he hosted a banquet.
Burdock Way has never been fully completed as it is missing certain sections envisaged in the early 1960s plans. There are a number of reasons for this, but it is mainly owing to West Yorkshire County Council’s cost cutting in the 1970s.
This is the Valley of the Gwangi in the West Riding – minus the dinosaurs.
An urban chasm, the gulf between everything and nothing.
North Bridge is a Victorian iron and stone bridge crossing the valley of the River Hebble, connecting the town to roads to Bradford and Leeds. Replacing an earlier six arch stone bridge it was raised to allow the subsequent construction of the Halifax High Level Railway beneath it, along with an adjoining station.
Opened in 1871 amid chaotic crowd scenes it carried increasingly heavy traffic until it was by-passed by the Burdock Way in 1973.
It remains in use for local traffic.