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Government announces £15Bn Road Investment Strategy

Road Investment Strategy to increase capacity and improve England’s roads network.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander have today announced a £15Bn Road Investment Strategy which will triple spending by the end of the decade.

More than 100 new road schemes will benefit from the investment over this parliament and the next, 84 of which are brand new today.

The Road Investment Strategy will include over 1,300 new lane miles on motorways and trunk roads, which will help tackle congestion and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas.

This is the first ever Road Investment Strategy and aims to keep the population connected and the economy growing. This includes £1.5Bn investment to add an extra lane onto key motorways to turn them into smart motorways and boost the connectivity between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.

Patrick McLoughlin 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 £15Bn roads programme is demonstration of that. Better roads allow us to travel freely, creating jobs and opportunities, benefiting hardworking families across the country.”

Maintenance funding worth more than £10Bn across the local and national road network will boost spending during the next parliament. Today’s new projects have been separated into the areas they effect:

In the south west there has been a commitment of £2Bn to transform the entire A303 and A358 into a dual carriageway. This plan includes the creation of a tunnel at Stonehenge and will allow road users coming from London to travel on dual carriageway all the way to within 15 miles of Land’s End.

In the north east £290M has been set aside to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Bellingham which sits 25 miles from the Scottish border.

Transport links between the north west and Yorkshire will benefit from the completion of the smart motorway scheme along the entire M62 from Manchester to Leeds, driving forward the vision of the Northern Powerhouse. There will also be improvements to the transpennine route between Manchester and Sheffield which will see the route increase in capacity for the first time since 1971.

Also in the north west there has been a commitment to improve the links to the Port of Liverpool, just part of a plan of 12 projects which will all improve the access to major international gateways on which the nation’s international trade depends.

In the south east there has been £350M of funding allocated to improve the A27 along the south coast. This work will tackle the severe congestion problems at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.

The east-west connection to Norfolk in the east of England will have £300M improvement funding which will result in the dualling of sections of the A47 and improve connections to the A1 and A11, building on the recently completed full dulling of the A11 from London to Norwich.

One third of the junctions on the M25 will be improved in London and the south east, helping to reduce congestion problems.

The M42 to the east of Birmingham will be improved to aid the connectivity to Birmingham Airport, the NEW, the local enterprise zone and pave the way for the expected 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 too. 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 £15Bn 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.”

In addition to increasing capacity and transforming the busiest sections of the network, the Highways Agency will be transformed into a government-owned company, allowing funding to be allocated on a longer term basis and saving the taxpayer around £2.6Bn over the next decade.

The Road Investment Strategy also contains measures to improve the lives of communities affected by road upgrades, including a £100M cycling provision allocation at 200 key locations across the roads network and to cycle-proof any new schemes in development, a £300M environmental fund which will mitigate carbon emission and reduce the number of people affected by noise by 250,000 – this fund will create new charge points for low emission vehicles every 20 miles across the road network, as well as enhance the landscape, protect sites of cultural or historic heritage, and reduce the impact of improving our roads on wildlife, countryside and habitats, and a £100M fund which will unlock future growth and housing developments.

The 84 new road projects announced which will improve connectivity across the UK from the north east to the south west. Broken down by region these include:

  • 18 schemes in the north east and Yorkshire worth around £2.3Bn and estimated to create 1,500 construction jobs
  • 9 schemes in the north west worth £800M and estimated to create 600 jobs
  • 17 schemes in the Midlands worth £1.4Bn and estimated to create 900 jobs
  • 15 schemes in the east of England worth £1.5Bn and estimated to create 1,000 jobs
  • 18 schemes in London and the south east worth £1.4Bn and estimated to create 900 jobs
  • 7 schemes in the south west worth £2Bn and estimated to create 1,300 jobs