Bus scheme investment after extra trams cash

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A FURTHER £20 million of investment in South Yorkshire’s transport infrastructure has been announced by the Government – just a fortnight after a bid for four new Supertrams was approved.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced a Sheffield-to-Rotherham rapid bus scheme will go ahead.

The scheme will include a new road under junction 34 of the M1 at Meadowhall to bypass the congested roundabouts.

The project is one of 21 around the country which have been approved – at a cost of £586m.

But no decision has yet been made on the fate of the controversial link road between the new Waverley development and Woodhouse Mill, which residents oppose as the route will be built on a playing field.

The Government will contribute £19.4m towards the bus scheme – one of two routes proposed between Sheffield and Rotherham.

It will cost £34.3m overall, with a further £10m coming from the European Union, £3m from private companies and £2m from both Sheffield and Rotherham Councils.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport director David Brown said the project would benefit motorists as well as bus passengers.

He said: “Local traffic is going to be able to pass between Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham without having to use junction 34.”

Mr Brown said the 10 new buses which would run on the route, set to open by 2014-15, would be “the best in class that is available”.

Rotherham MP Denis MacShane said: “These proposals have wide local support and should go some way towards reducing traffic congestion in the short term and creating jobs.”

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for transport, said: “The scheme will provide much-needed infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.”