April start for Highways England | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

April start for Highways England

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Highways England, a new government-owned company that will take over the running of England’s motorways and A-roads, will go live from 1 April 2015.

It will take over the management of the strategic road network from the Highways Agency.

The new company will have longer-term funding, which will mean it can plan ahead and invest in skills and equipment to speed up essential work and drive down costs to the taxpayer.

The move is part of a package of road reform that is expected to save the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

Transport Minister John Hayes said: “This marks a significant way forward in how our strategic road network is delivered and managed.

“These reforms will mean the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads upgrade for decades. Ensuring we have well maintained roads and motorways is essential to a modern transport system that will boost our economy, create jobs and give more choice about where we live and work whilst delivering billions in savings.

“I am clear that government will set the strategy, gauge its implementation and direct necessary changes. Highways England will be answerable to Parliament, fully accountable for its work and will report to ministers.”

The government’s Autumn Statement in December announced the Road Investment Strategy, which set out how Highways England will spend £15.2 billion on 84 new national road projects to help enhance connectivity.

In addition the government has announced plans to tackle longstanding problems including a new strategic corridor to the South West via the A303, including a 1.8 mile tunnel at Stonehenge, a long term commitment of around £2bn.

The Road Investment Strategy included a commitment of £4.5 billion to add an extra lane to our key motorways to boost connectivity between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.

Legislation underpinning the new Highways England company was passed in the Infrastructure Act, which was given Royal Assent on 12 February.

Today (12 March 2015) sees the publication of the Road Investment Strategy and the licence which will govern how Highways England will operate.

The Act also sets out the measures being used to look after the interests of the users of the network, which include the creation of a new road user watchdog and a highways monitor to assess the performance of the network, based within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation respectively.

 
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