UK government announces £6.1bn program of upgrades to major roads and motorways


Transport Minister Jesse Norman has unveiled a £6.1bn (US$7.9bn) program of road improvements as part of the UK government’s £23bn (US$29.8bn) upgrade to the road network in England.

Over the coming six months, the government will take the next steps on 55 road improvements across the country, including opening eight schemes, consulting on 10 schemes, and publishing final plans for another 29 schemes. Road users will benefit from shorter journey times, reduced congestion and increased capacity on roads, creating better local connections and improved passenger journeys.

The schemes will all be delivered by Highways England (HE), which is responsible for the country’s motorways and main trunk roads that form the Strategic Road Network (SRN). The announcements are important next steps to progress the schemes contained in the 2014 road investment strategy, which outlines how £15.2bn (US$19.7bn) will be invested in the SRN between 2015 and 2021.

Upgrades include adding capacity to sections of the A1 in Northumberland, which will shorten journey times, support economic growth, and improve access to and from the county. Road users will also see proposals to increase capacity at the A12 Colchester Bypass to reduce delays, and will see a new strategic corridor to the south-west via the A303, which will improve journey times to the world heritage site at Stonehenge.

Other improvements include a more efficient Junction 19 on the M6, and an upgrade to the link between the Port of Liverpool and the motorway network. The program also includes the route for the new A19 Downhill Lane junction, which will support the new international manufacturing park by significantly increasing road capacity, easing traffic, improving safety, and boosting the local economy.

“Road users across England should soon be seeing the benefits of these improvements in their daily lives, which are designed to link people better with their jobs, friends, family, and local amenities, as well as connecting businesses with customers,” said Norman.

“Over the next six months we expect to roll out our vital upgrade plan, taking next steps on £6.1bn-worth (US$7.9bn) of schemes and seeking to hear from local people, organizations and businesses to help shape our plans and ensure they benefit local communities. And shortly I also plan to announce the winners of the 2017 to 2018 highways maintenance challenge fund, where the government will be investing £75m (US$97m) to improve smaller local roads, including through resurfacing, filling potholes, and other infrastructure projects.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).