Thorpe Park, Leeds

One of the most complicated private road projects in the UK, Thorpe Park has been generating new jobs and now homes for Leeds since 1993, with much more to come.

Responsible for the overall masterplan for this site, this mixed-use, high-quality business and retail park extends over 156 acres and accommodates 2M ft2 of B1 office space. It looks to generate more than 13,000 jobs and unlock the construction of 7,000 new homes around the area.

Early Work

Phases of the Thorpe Park development were completed:

  • Phase One of the project involved building a dual carriageway with a connecting roundabout;
  • Phase Two saw further development of the highway on the park;
  • Phase Three dealt with modifications to the M1, J46 link road (the elongated junction);
  • Phase Four involved building a roundabout on the A6120 to connect Phases Two and Three. Within this roundabout, a path was created centrally through its oval shape to allow vehicles that want to turn right to drive through the middle of the island instead of going all the way round, saving them and others time;
  • Phase Five saw the formation of road extensions to allow access to all development areas within this phase. Every phase of the project was future proofed to enable the later development of a wider area, and this is now delivering new opportunities for Leeds.

Present-day Scheme

We prepared the outline design for an 800-metre dual carriage-way to reduce congestion within neighbouring roads, two roundabouts to aid consistency of traffic flow, signal junctions to coordinate traffic, a ‘green bridge’ and a new road-over-rail bridge to enable greater access. Known locally as the Manston Lane Link Road (MLLR), it provides direct access to the M1 J46, as well as Thorpe Park and Leeds’ new retail and leisure destinations The Springs.

The green bridge is an innovative 15m-wide non-motorised crossing to carry horses, cyclists, and pedestrians. This construction promotes non-motorised community use of open spaces and supports natural movement of wildlife. Where soft substances are normally removed from bridges to stop the penetration of water affecting the integrity of the steel, the green bridge has vegetation growing through it to promote its environmental perspective. Our robust capabilities within the Highways & Transportation sector ensured that the bridge was both structurally and visually pleasing.

A gas main bisecting the site was one challenge that led to design adaptations with northern gas networks to find the best solution for all stakeholders. With a 33,000-volt electric overhead cable also running through the site, we undertook advanced works to maximise the developable prior to the final permanent diversion planned in 2019.

During the construction phase, we undertook the role of NEC Project Manager with the construction contract issued as a Design and Build Contract.

Adrian Wightman, Highways and Land Associate, stated “We are very proud to have been able to provide engineering infrastructure support to Thorpe Park over the last 25 years. The most recently completed highway infrastructure associated with Thorpe Park, the Manston Lane Link Road, has just recently been opened to traffic in May 2019 and provides valuable connectivity to both Thorpe Park and M1 J46 for all both motorised and non-motorised users. The feedback from the local community and Thorpe Park has been very positive for the scheme”.

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