Government pledges £93m for vital road upgrades
‘Vital’ road upgrades to the tune of £93m have been given the go-ahead to fuel the economic recovery from the pandemic.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has pledged the funding, which will be used for projects in North Yorkshire, Hampshire and the Midlands.
The North of England will get more than half of the funding, with up to £56m to overhaul of the Kex Gill section of the A59 in North Yorkshire. This will significantly improve connectivity between the historic northern towns of Harrogate and Skipton.
The West Midlands will gain from a £24m investment to reduce congestion at Birchley Island, situated at the intersection of the M5, A4123 and A4034 – which is expected to boost employment, improve air quality and increase the region’s manufacturing output.
Hampshire will get £13m worth of crucial upgrades to the Redbridge Causeway bridges over the River Test, which provide important access for local businesses and hauliers to the port of Southampton, and link the New Forest to Southampton.
The three schemes will cost a total of some £107m, with local councils providing the remainder of the funding, pending the completion of all legal processes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The projects will help people access work and education, as well as ensuring vital connectivity for local businesses.”
The AA said the funding was “desperately needed” but called for further work.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, commented: “Just last week, AA members said that the nation’s roads were in a state of disrepair so this is welcome news. We desperately need more investment filtering down to local levels as the more local you get, the worse the picture is.
“A third (32%) of drivers ranked trunk road surfaces as ‘good’, whereas only one in five (19%) felt they could say the same for main roads and fewer still for residential streets (15%).
“It’s not just the moon-like craters on our roads that need fixing, but worn-away markings too. Just one fifth (20%) said markings on local roads were ‘good’, as opposed to nearly two fifths that said markings were ‘good’ on trunk roads (37%).
“Politicians may underestimate how the public views the state of the roads, but the reality is that our members see it as a top priority. More than eight out of 10 (83%) say maintaining good roads is important to them.
“If we are going to ‘build back better’ then improvements need to reach every street and avenue.”