“Roads revolution” to create 900 extra miles of lane capacity
This boost is the result of a £24 billion investment – the biggest since the 1970s – which will see annual funding for enhancements to motorways and major A roads triple over the next six years. Investment includes more than £9 billion on maintenance, £6 billion of which will be spent on resurfacing 3,000 miles of the strategic road network.
Commenting on the plans, Roads Minister John Hayes, said: ‘As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain, we are fixing problems that have been created by governments of the past by delivering around 35% more capacity on our roads than was delivered in the nine years up to 2010. It is because of the difficult decisions that this Government has taken that we are able to triple investment in our major roads to over £3 billion a year up to 2021.
‘We're doing this with great care for our environment. This extra capacity will be achieved mainly by the use of smart motorways and selective widening to minimise the environmental impact.
‘This government will oversee more work, more safety, and more improvements on our roads. This will benefit hard-working people and businesses, help ease congestion and create a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond.’
More road schemes are expected to be added to the programme following the 2014 Autumn Statement, which could include solutions identified as part of six feasibility studies that are looking at dealing with some of the most notorious and long-standing hotspots on England's roads, including the A303 in the South West and the A47 in the East of England.
Along with the results of the Highways Agency route strategies – a comprehensive review of all roads in England – the outcomes of the studies will help ensure the government continues to meet the future needs of roads users.
The DfT claims that taxpayers could also save more than £2.6 billion over the next 10 years as the Highways Agency is transformed into a government-owned company. The new company, of which the Transport Secretary is the single shareholder, will use stable, locked-in funding to boost efficiency with the supply chain and aims to be more accountable to Parliament and road users.