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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 05:38 GMT 06:38 UK
Relief road wins top design award
A bridge over the Bingley Relief Road in West Yorkshire
The judges said the road made an "immense difference" to the town
A road built through an important wildlife site has joined iconic buildings, such as Tate Modern, by winning a top architectural prize.

The A650 Bingley bypass in West Yorkshire beat 16 other projects including public toilets in Hampshire and Trafalgar Square's redevelopment.

The 50m road, aimed at cutting traffic in the town, won the prime minister's Better Public Building Award.

The judges said the 4.5km road had made an "immense difference" to the town.

The unveiling of the three-mile route marked the completion of one of the most ambitious road projects in West Yorkshire.

It's unbelievable that a road which has destroyed one of Britain's top wildlife sites is now winning an award for design
Tony Boswort,
Friends of the Earth

Traffic had been coming to a near-halt near Bingley town centre for 20 years on a key route along the Aire Valley between West Yorkshire and the Lake District.

The new road has cut journey times between Cottingley to Crossflatts .

The work was completed three months ahead of schedule, even though bridges across the River Aire and a bog had to be built.

Judge Paul Finch, chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), which champions better public buildings, said: "This is the first time that a civil engineering project, in this case a road scheme, has won the award, which we are delighted about.

'Excellent design'

"Good road schemes make an immense difference to the quality of life for motorists and town residents.

"The excellent design, construction approach and overall delivery of the Bingley Road cannot be underestimated."

But the award is not without its critics.

Friends of the Earth Transport spokesperson Tony Bosworth said: "It's unbelievable that a road which has destroyed one of Britain's top wildlife sites is now winning an award for design.

"Its destruction of Bingley south bog, a recognized site of special scientific interest, goes directly against government policy to protect SSSIs and the road itself hasn't even provided the transport solution it promised - all it has done is move congestion to elsewhere in the area, exactly what opponents of the road predicted."

The award is open to any building that has been paid for with public money.

The complete shortlist was:

  • Architecture Building, Lincoln University
  • Wolfson Medical School for the University of Glasgow
  • City & Islington College Life Long Learning Centre
  • Raines Court, London, N16
  • A1 Haddington to Dunbar Expressway, East Lothian
  • Masshouse Circus Redevelopment, Birmingham
  • A650 Bingley Relief Road, Yorks
  • World Squares for All - Phase 1: Trafalgar Square & Environs
  • New Accommodation Project, GCHQ, Cheltenham
  • Hoyle Early Years Centre, Bury
  • Brookley Road Public Conveniences, Brockenhurst, Hants
  • Wildern Basic Needs Secondary School, Southampton
  • Past Masters: Three Aqueducts, Wootton Wawen, Warwicks
  • UB 289 Moy Viaduct, Inverness
  • Whittle Arch and Glass Bridge, Coventry
  • A6116 Rockingham Road, Corby
  • Newton's Cove Coast Protection Scheme, Weymouth

Deputy PM opens new road
12 Jan 04  |  West Yorkshire
Relief as road opens
22 Dec 03  |  West Yorkshire

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