UK Roads Minister, Mike Penning, has announced that the Highways Agency (HA) is to start work on eight road schemes as the first stage of a £217 million (US$340 million) programme of improvements to England's motorways and major A roads. The schemes are intended to boost local economies, reduce congestion and improve safety. Known as ‘Pinch Point’ improvement schemes, the HA will start the planning and design for £18.5 million (US$29 million) worth of schemes this financial year, with work to be undertaken and completed by 2015. The first stage comprises: M1 Junction 21; A38 Markeaton Roundabout; A38 Little Eaton roundabout; A46 Cold Ashton roundabout; A30 Newtown roundabout; A1033 northern gateway roundabout; M40 junction 9/A34 Wendlebury; and M60 Junction 24.
The improvement schemes are the first stage of the Pinch Point Programme, which forms part of the UK Government’s growth initiative, outlined during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November 2011. The Government has allocated funds to the HA to undertake focused improvements to the strategic road network, with details of the main programme of pinch point schemes to be announced later this year.
Announcing the start of the projects, Penning said, “The pinch point improvements overall will inject more than £200 million of vital investment across the strategic road network. The program provides smaller scale improvements that can deliver big returns by easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for road users, including hauliers and commuters. This will boost local economies and drive economic growth. Transport provides the crucial links that allow people and businesses to prosper and we will continue to invest in schemes that reduce congestion and support economic growth.”
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