The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has underlined the importance of road building and construction to fuel economic recovery, with a promise to, ‘build, build, build’.
In a speech this morning he likened the government’s plan to US president Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal programme which used public works construction to get America over the great depression of the 1920s. Johnson underlined his commitment to new infrastructure plans, including £100m this year for 29 projects in the road network plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck.
“This is a government that is wholly committed not just to defeating coronavirus but to using this crisis finally to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades,” he said. “To that end we will build, build, build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster and to do that at the pace that this moment requires.”
The29 projects range from fixing deteriorating roads and flood mitigation measures, through to repairing bridges that are part of local highway key routes, and will benefit from investment in an effort to make a lasting difference to the quality of local highways across the country.
The funding will help improve some of our country’s most important A-roads, from the A58 by Bolton to the A38 running through Somerset. The investment further demonstrates the government’s commitment to levelling-up and improving connectivity between communities, with high-quality roads lying right at the heart of people’s ability to get about for work and leisure.
Projects receiving particularly significant investment include:
- £4.9m to repair two bridges in Sandwell to improve safety for nearby key roads in the West Midlands that will be used heavily during the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
- £5m each for plans to make the key route network in Liverpool more resilient, to begin further maintenance on the Swanswell Viaduct in Coventry, and for road maintenance on the Tadcaster Road in York.
- £4.9m to replace poor-quality footways for pedestrians in Sheffield, as part of the government’s commitment to improve people’s access to ‘active travel’.
- Boosting the quality of the A15, a key route providing a vital connection through the Humber region, with over £4.5m of investment.
The government is committed to improving local journeys and ensuring the local road network is safe and reliable. Over £7.1 billion is being allocated to highway authorities in England outside London for highways maintenance from 2015 to 2021, helping local highway authorities keep their roads and assets, such as bridges and viaducts, in good condition.
Because Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales now have their own devolved regional administrations, the UK government has less scope for making an impact on economic recovery in these regions. However, the national government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and work with the devolved administrations to identify transport projects worth supporting.