Fleet News

Highways England to manage motorways and major A roads

The Government has confirmed that new company Highways England will take over the running of motorways and major trunk roads from the Highways Agency on April 1, 2015.

Highways England will have new 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, according to the Government.

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 £15.2bn on 84 new national road projects to help radically enhance connectivity.

In addition, the Government has announced plans to tackle longstanding problems with 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 £4.5bn to add an extra lane to key motorways to boost connectivity between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire.

Other measures include nine major improvements along the A1 from Berwick to London, taking it to motorway standard through Yorkshire and extending the continuous dual carriageway 24 miles further north, part of £2.3bn worth of new investment in Yorkshire and the North East.

The Government’s commitment to new spending on roads amounts to a tripling of annual investment in road improvements to more than £3bn per year by 2021.

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

The Road Investment Strategy has now been published 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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