BOOM: UK roads will enjoy huge investment
Britain’s road network will benefit from the biggest investment programme in 40 years with £28billion-worth of improvements, Treasury Minister Danny Alexander has announced.
Between 2015 and 2020, around £10billion will be spent on the UK’s ‘decaying’ network, with 21,000miles of road resurfaced and new lanes added to the busiest motorway stretches.
The remainder will be spent on projects such as the £1.5billion upgrade of the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge, which will be brought forward to 2016.
Mr Alexander told MPs road spending equated to the cost of filling 19million potholes.
He told MPs: “This is an ambitious plan to build an infrastructure Britain can be proud of.”
Funding was announced as Mr Alexander revealed plans for a £100billion national infrastructure modernisation between 2015 and 2020.
The first half will be committed to projects beginning in 2015-16, with the rest for 2016-2020.
The Road Haulage Association said they welcomed the acknowledgement that millions of people and businesses rely on the road network.
Geoff Dunning, Chief Executive of the RHA, said: “Of course we are pleased.
“It is essential that work starts without delay if the UK haulage industry is to deliver economic growth.
“It is also essential that we as an industry see money being spent as opposed to hearing intentions of spending.”
However, while welcoming the commitment of £10billion in road repairs, the RHA said they are concerned some repairs will come too late.
“The past couple of years have seen many road users faced with appalling driving conditions as a result of extreme weather,” added Mr Dunning.
“The knock-on effects, coupled with under-investment in maintenance over many years, have seen many side roads, in particular those leading to industrial sites and other areas, left in a condition that can be both dangerous and damaging to vehicles.
“It is vital that these improvements start now – waiting until next year for this work to start is not an option.”
Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) are delighted that all major projects in the Highways Agency pipeline for the Strategic Road Network are to be delivered.
FTA’s submission on the Spending Review called for it to ensure that infrastructure was protected, and emphasised the role of government in providing transport investment.
James Hookham, Managing Director of Policy & Communications for the FTA, said: “We welcome the government’s focus on infrastructure spending and the recognition of its value in order to stimulate growth in the wider economy.
“The government appears to have accepted the case for targeting roads investment at the priority routes identified by FTA members, giving the go-ahead for major schemes that form part of our Trade Routes, such as the M6 from Birmingham to Manchester and the A1 north of Newcastle.
“FTA will be looking closely at the detail of the schemes that the government has said will be delivered – including the standard to which roads will be upgraded and future government plans for tolling.”
Image courtesy of Mat Fascione, with thanks.