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Government announces 'biggest upgrade to roads in a generation'

cars on a road

A £15 billion plan to triple levels of spending by the end of the decade to increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads, was announced to Parliament today (Monday, December 1) by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

The Government says it is investing in more than 100 new road schemes over this parliament and next, 84 of which are revealed today.

More than 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, say ministers.

The plans are published today in the ‘Road investment strategy’, which 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.

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 £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.”

Spending during the next parliament on England’s roads network will be boosted further by maintenance funding worth more than £10 billion 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.
  • North West and Yorkshire: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alexander, said: “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 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.”

The new investment broken down by region is:

  • North East and Yorkshire - 18 schemes worth around £2.3 billion and estimated to create 1,500 construction jobs.
  • North West – 9 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 and South East – 18 schemes worth £1.4 billion and estimated to create 900 jobs
  • South West – 7 schemes worth £2 billion and estimated to create 1,300 jobs.


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  • Reg Willcox - 01/12/2014 11:03

    £15 billion is a lot money just to find somewhere to store the UK's oversupply of bollards which are put in place on various stretches of road along with reduced speed limits weeks before any work actually gets started.

  • Dirk Olsen - 01/12/2014 13:04

    They're spending all that money improving roads all over the UK but no mention to add one other lane to the A14 which was promised month ago to wden this road to ease congestion.

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