Government outlines road and transport improvements in National Infrastructure Delivery Plan
The plans are supported by investment of over £100bn committed to 2020-21, part of the £483bn 'Pipeline' project.
As well as detailing investment on areas such as housing, communications, science, water and social infrastructure, the document covers plans for transport, saying: “A reliable and high-performing road network helps improve productivity, but over decades, the quality of the network has declined and congestion, noise and poor air quality have become problems at certain hotspots. Poor or missing links mean cities which are close together do less business with one another.
“The Government is committed to addressing these challenges by building a better network with smarter roads that use technology and modern road building techniques. In this way it can ensure the country has a road network that drives, instead of constrains, growth.”
The documents includes details announced in the Budget on autonomous vehicle plans, including plans for trials of driverless cars on the strategic road network (SRN) by 2017 and the establishment of a £15m ‘connected corridor’ from London to Dover to enable vehicles to communicate wirelessly with infrastructure. It also confirms plans to trial truck-platooning on strategic roads and start trials of comparative fuel price signs on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter by spring 2016.
It also confirms that the Government is providing over £5bn to 2020-21 for maintenance, including a £250m pothole action fund.
As outlined in last year’s Summer Budget, the document sets out that the Government will create a new Roads Fund by 2020-21, using revenues from Vehicle Excise Duty, “to ensure continued high and stable long-term investment in the SRN”.
Key priorities and projects outlined include:
- Smart Motorways: this Parliament will see the opening of new Smart Motorway capacity around the country, including on the M1, M3, M6 and in Manchester as well as the start of a £650m project on the M4 between Reading and London
- Road Period 1 Major Schemes: these are intended to deliver new capacity, better connectivity and enhanced junctions, predominantly on key A roads. They include the A556 Knutsford to Bowdon, A5-M1 Link Road, A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet and the M1 Junction 19 improvement.
- A14: up to £1.5 billion to upgrade the 21-mile stretch between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
- A1 (North): over £1bn for a package of improvement and maintenance works.
- A303 / A30 / A358 Corridor: this long-term programme is intended to transform the route into an Expressway extending to within 15 miles of Land’s End. A £2 billion investment will see the start of construction of three major improvements including a tunnel of at least 1.8 miles at Stonehenge.
The document also includes details of projects in development, such as the Lower Thames Crossing and the Trans-Pennine Tunnel.
The full document is available to download here.
Karen Dee, FTA’s director of policy, said: “The Government is right to put so much emphasis on infrastructure – these networks are crucial to delivering economic growth. Transport improvements represent a large proportion of the projects, which is vital for a trading nation that relies on the movement of goods and services.”