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UK roads network gets £24M investment

Extra 900 miles of capacity to be added to the UK roads network by 2021

The biggest investment to the UK roads network since the 1970s has been awarded by the UK Government and will see an additional 900 lane miles of road capacity added to motorways and major A roads over the next 6 years.

The funding will result in a third more capacity added to the roads network than in the previous decade and includes more than £9Bn allocated to maintenance, £6Bn of this will be spent on resurfacing 3,000 miles of the existing strategic road network.

Roads Minister John Hayes announced the funding: “As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain, we are fixing problems that have been created by governments of the past by delivering around 35% more capacity on our roads than was delivered in the 9 years up to 2010. It is because of the difficult decisions that this government has taken that we are able to triple investment in our major roads to over £3Bn a year up to 2021.

“We’re doing this with great care for our environment. This extra capacity will be achieved mainly by the use of smart motorways and selective widening to minimise the environmental impact.

“This government will oversee more work, more safety, and more improvements on our roads. This will benefit hard-working people and businesses, help ease congestion and create a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond.”

The nine year period from 2001 to 2010 saw construction works which resulted in the delivery of 574 lane miles. The current government has committed to 60 new road schemes, the majority of which are expected to complete by 2021, subject to value for money and deliverability. These schemes will provide 962 miles of new road which is 35% more miles per year than under the previous government. 

The 2014 Autumn Statement is expected to add more road schemes to the programme. This could include solutions for dealing with some of the most notorious and long-standing hotspots on the UK roads network, such as the A303 in the south west and the A47 in the east of England, following 6 feasibility studies which have been carried out recently. 

The outcome of these studies, along with the results of the Highways Agency route strategies – a comprehensive review of all England’s roads – will ensure that the future needs of road users will be met by the government. 

More than £2.6Bn is expected to be saved by UK taxpayers over the next ten years as the Highways Agency is transformed into a government-owned company. The new company, which will have a single shareholder in the Transport Secretary, will use stable, locked-in funding to boost efficiency with the supply chain and be more accountable to Parliament and road users. 

A long-tern roads investment strategy will be published by the Department for Transport later this year, supporting the government’s economic ambitions and setting out a clear vision for the new company, including a new investment plan and setting out performant requirements for the UK roads network.