Details of £15bn roads programme revealed | Smart Highways Magazine: Industry News

Details of £15bn roads programme revealed

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Details of a £15 billion roads investment strategy have been revealed by the government today (1 December 2014) ­– with 84 new road projects outlined.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced details of the first ever Road Investment Strategy to Parliament. The ambitious plan will see levels of spending tripled by the end of the decade and increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads

The government is investing in more than 100 new road schemes over this parliament and next, 84 of which are brand new today, including the dualling of the A303, A1, A27 and the A47.

Mr McLoughlin (pictured) said: “Today I am setting out the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades. It will dramatically improve our road network and unlock Britain’s economic potential.

“Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment. This government has a long term plan to secure the country’s future and this £15 billion roads programme is demonstration of that. Better roads allow us to travel freely, creating jobs and opportunities, benefiting hardworking families across the country.”

Over 1,300 new lane miles will be added by schemes being delivered over the next parliament on motorways and trunk roads, tackling congestion and fixing some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the network.

These plans are published today in the first ever Road Investment Strategy, which has been developed to keep the population connected and the economy growing.

This includes £1.5 billion of investment to add an extra lane onto key motorways to turn them into Smart motorways, boosting connectivity between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.

Spending during the next parliament on England’s roads network will be boosted further by maintenance funding worth more than £10bn across the local and national road network.

New projects announced today include:

  • South West: a commitment of £2 billion to dual the entire A303 and A358 to the south west, including a tunnel at Stonehenge. This will allow roads users to drive on a dual carriageway from London to within 15 miles of Land’s End;
  • North East: setting aside £290 million to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Ellingham, just 25 miles from the Scottish border, to make the Great North Road truly great again;
  • North West and Yorkshire: driving forward the Northern Powerhouse by completing the smart motorway along the entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds, together with improvements to transpennine capacity from Manchester to Sheffield, representing the first increase in transpennine capacity since 1971;
  • North West: committing to improve links to the Port of Liverpool, as part of a plan of 12 projects designed to improve access to major international gateways on which the nation’s international trade depends;
  • South East: funding £350 million of improvements to the A27 along the south coast, tackling severe congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes – consulting with the local community on options;
  • East of England: investing £300 million to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and A11, building on the recently completed full dualling of the A11 from London to Norwich;
  • London and the South East: improving one-third of the junctions on the entire M25, to aid frustrated commuters stuck in traffic around the capital; and
  • Midlands: improving the M42 to the east of Birmingham, improving the connectivity to Birmingham airport, the National Exhibition Centre, the local Enterprise Zone, and pave the way for the new High Speed 2 interchange station.

Chair of the Cabinet Infrastructure Committee and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “World class infrastructure is vital if we are to build a stronger economy, but it matters in other ways to. It invigorates communities and gives people more opportunities to get on in life. This is why I have ensured that this government has prioritised funding roads, and railways, at a high level for future generations.

“For decades our roads have suffered from under investment, so I’m particularly delighted to be able to announce this expansive range of new road schemes today. Investment on this scale is only possible because we have taken the difficult decisions needed to control our public finances and stuck to our recovery plan which is now delivering strong growth and record numbers of jobs.

“These projects, like the scheme on the A303, will help unleash the economic potential of both the regions they serve and of the overall economy.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, added: ”Our long term economic plan means today we can invest an unprecedented £15 billion into Britain’s infrastructure to improve repair and expand our roads.

“Our plans will transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes, with ambitious projects to dual the A303, A1, A27 and the A47 as well as spending on important local infrastructure boosting productivity and helping local economies.

“For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs for the future and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.”

As well as increasing capacity and transforming the busiest sections of the network, the government is transforming the Highways Agency into a government-owned company; this will mean funding can be allocated on a longer term basis, saving the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

The strategy also contains measures to improve the lives of communities affected by road upgrades.

The 84 new road projects outlined today will improve connectivity across the UK, from the North East to South West. The new investment broken down by region is:

  • North East & Yorkshire – 18 schemes worth around £2.3 billion and estimated to create 1,500 construction jobs;
  • North West – Nine schemes worth £800 million and estimated to create 600 jobs;
  • Midlands – 17 schemes worth £1.4 billion and estimated to create 900 jobs;
  • East of England – 15 schemes worth £1.5 billion and estimated to create 1,000 jobs;
  • London & South East – 18 schemes worth £1.4 billion and estimated to create 900 jobs; and
  • South West – Seven schemes worth £2 billion and estimated to create 1,300 jobs.
 
Comments

“For years our roads have been neglected” – because we have limited land to build on and fincances and history has shown that providing capacity merely generates additional demand and expectation. Smart motorways can work, but the whole premise of a transport network where the majority of journeys are completed in single-occupant vehicles (however fuel-efficient or autonomous they can be made) is doomed to failure. We all love our personalised cocoons with tailored entertainment and comfort levels, but are ultimately going to have to sacrifice or share them for at least a substantial proportion of our journeys. Unpalletable, but true!

Picking up on Paul’s point, if £3bn per year is invested in reshaping the roads network to standards seen in places like The Netherlands, then many people would choose to cycle short distances. That would mean people that still choose to drive would have less congestion and we all would be breathing a little bit easier.

Creating space for cycling benefits people of all abilities, too.

Already the Government recognises that there is an AVERAGE payback of 5 to 1 for cycle schemes, sometimes well over 30 to 1. There are £billions of savings that can be made in NHS budgets by creating better infrastructure, too.

Places like The Netherlands and Denmark were once like the UK is now. If they can do it, so can we.

~Andrew~