Highways England (HE) is investing more than £7m (US$9.2m) in a series of road improvement schemes in Northamptonshire, Worcestershire and Devon that will ease traffic delays, reduce journey times, generate jobs and help unlock plans to build homes.
The funding boost comes from HE’s Growth and Housing Fund budget that has already provided over £77m (US$101m) to communities across the country, improving junctions and creating access to commercial land and new homes. To date the specialist fund has made huge improvements and benefits to local communities, unlocking homes and jobs in Swindon, Exeter, Weston-super-Mare, Darlington, Scunthorpe, Grantham, Warrington, Derby, Oldham, Taunton, Durham, Daventry, Leicester and Southampton.
Northamptonshire will benefit from a HE contribution of around £4m (US$5.2m) to deliver a comprehensive package of junction improvements at Queen Eleanor, Brackmills and Great Billing junctions along the A45 major trunk road. The new funding is aimed at helping local communities unlock plans for future housing, and to create better journey times and generate jobs. Once delivered, the improvements will support a further 14,500 homes in the wider area and create some 3,000 jobs. The improvements will be delivered by Northamptonshire County Council. The A45 improvements scheme is expected to start on site in June this year and will be completed and open to traffic by March 2021.
Worcestershire will benefit from a HE contribution of £2.68m (US$3.5m) to support two schemes to improve journeys around junction 4 of the M5 and junction 1 of the M42 near Bromsgrove. The improvements, which include widening the A38 at junction 1 of the M42 and at M5 junction 4 to Lydiate Ash Road, are expected to reduce queuing at peak times in the area and improve journey times. They are part of the wider A38 Bromsgrove Corridor scheme which, when complete, is expected to unlock a total of 1,946 homes and allow new offices and warehouse space to be built, creating employment opportunities in the local area.
Exeter and the surrounding area will benefit from a £619,000 (US$812,000) HE contribution to a scheme that will deliver extra lanes on the southern approach to Moor Lane Roundabout and improve local road access from the A30. The improvements will reduce queuing at peak times in the area, especially on the M5 junction 29 exit slip roads, and improve journey times. The £2.23m (US$2.9m) scheme is being delivered by Devon County Council and is also being supported by the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). Work is expected to start this autumn and continue until next spring. The scheme compliments the recently delivered Tithe Barn improvement scheme that was also paid for by HE’s Growth and Housing Fund.
“Our roads are vital for the country and its economic success; they connect businesses and communities and support employment and new homes,” explained Ian Parsons, HE’s senior investment planning manager. “All of our improvements will ultimately ensure our roads continue to improve journeys and unlock the potential for new jobs and homes.”