Government announces £28bn spend to improve UK roads
By: Dave Robbins
31 July 2013
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The Government is investing £28bn in UK roads over the next 8 years. Out of this pot over £15bn will be used on projects and improvements to ‘strategic roads’ – meaning motorways and ‘A’ roads. Special attention will be given to our most important ‘A’ roads, which will become ‘expressways’.
The remaining £12bn plus will be used to resurface and repair 80% of our strategic road network with £6bn earmarked to rid the country of potholes. This amount will fill 19m potholes every year through to 2021. Along with improvements and maintenance, there will be a greater emphasis on managed roads to help keep traffic flowing. The report also announces the transformation of the Highways Agency into a strategic highways company to help it access more secure long-term funding.
The announcements are all part of a new report from Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport entitled ‘Action for Roads’. A comprehensive document, it highlights the importance of roads to the UK economy, our lack of investment in them over the past 40 years, the development of ‘greener’ vehicles and, worryingly, the forecasts for future traffic growth.
It suggests that, without investment, the UK faces gridlock on many strategic roads over the next 30 years. Even at the very lowest predicted growth rates for the economy, traffic is expected to increase by 24% by the year 2040. Strategic routes would be the hardest hit with the unpleasant possibility that a quarter of all travel time would be spent stuck in traffic.
“Our major roads are vital to the prosperity of our nation, connecting people to jobs and businesses to markets,” said Mr McLoughlin. “They carry a third of all traffic and two thirds of all freight traffic, but in recent decades we have failed to invest properly in them. Today’s changes will bring an end to the short-term thinking that has blighted investment in England’s roads so that we can deliver the infrastructure our economy needs. Backed by the Government’s £28 billion commitment, they will give us a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond.”