£196 million boost for 38 North West road improvement schemes

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£196 million boost for 38 North West road improvement schemes

Over 9,500 construction jobs will be supported in 2014 by more than £1.9 billion of investment in Britain’s roads, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced today.

The total investment in 209 schemes is £4.3 billion, £1.9 billion of which will be spent in 2014 alone – more than twice the amount spent in 2013.

In the North West, £196 million will be spent on 38 road improvement schemes to reduce congestion and open new routes, bringing a £1.4 billion benefit to the wider economy and supporting 1,000 construction jobs 

These include

  • A major smart motorways scheme to cut congestion and improve journey times on parts of the M60 and M62 in Greater Manchester. The latest technology will be used to monitor traffic levels, provide traffic information to road users, and ease congestion by using variable speed limits on overhead signs between Junction 8 of the M60 and Junction 20 of the M62. A five-mile stretch of the hard shoulder will also be converted to an extra lane.
  • Plans for a new dual carriageway linking the M6 to the M56 in Cheshire. The new five-mile route would run mainly to the west of the existing A556 from Junction 19 of the M6 near Knutsford to Junction 7 of the M56 near Bowdon. It would re-join the existing A556 for a short section north of Bucklow Hill, which would be upgraded to modern dual carriageway standards.
  • Thorley Lane Bridge on the M56 will be replaced with a wider structure. As well as increasing capacity on this section of the network to reduce delay, it will also allow Metrolink services to cross the M56 into the Davenport Green site.
  • Adding a lane to the eastbound carriageway of the M56 at Junction 7. The new lane will start from the merge with the A556 at Junction 7 and will continue for a distance of approximately 1km to the Ashley Road footbridge over the M56.

These and other road programmes across the country – which will either start or be completed in 2014 – are estimated to boost the economy by over £18.8 billion and are part of a £100 billion package of investment in Britain’s infrastructure over the next seven years; the largest programme of investment since the 1970s.

The roads programme is just one part the government’s drive to prioritise investment in projects that provide an economic boost, and will help create a high-performance road network that can cope with the expected 43% increase in traffic by 2040.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:

“Roads are the lifeblood that keeps our economy going – they create jobs and help get products to markets. This government is committed to delivering the modern infrastructure we need to compete in the global race, investing across the board to cut congestion and reduce journey times in roads, rail and local transport.

“We are already seeing massive improvements being made to our major roads and motorways. In 2014 the public will see even greater improvements right across the country.”

Over half of the 209 schemes are due for completion next year. This will be followed in 2015 by an even larger programme of improvement and investment on our major roads, with spending rising to £3bn a year by 2020.

The government’s £28bn commitment as part of the 2013 Spending Review will deliver massive extra capacity to our busiest motorways, along with 52 major road projects funded and delivered between this parliament and 2020/21.

This government has a track record in delivering significant road improvement programmes. All eight schemes under construction at the 2010 Spending Review have been delivered ahead of schedule, adding 190 lane miles to our motorway network.

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton said:

”The government is delivering the infrastructure the UK needs to have a modern, successful economy. All eight roads schemes promised under this government have been delivered ahead of schedule, and at the Spending Round we set out the most ambitious programme of investment since the 1970s.

“We’re prioritising the projects that will drive forward growth and next year 10,000 jobs will be created as a result, proving that this vital investment will bring benefits to people across the country.”

Those schemes under construction in 2014 include: 178 ‘pinch point’ schemes that tackle local bottlenecks on our roads, and 31 ‘major schemes’ to dramatically improve key networks.

Earlier this year the Department for Transport published ‘Action for Roads’ a command paper which set out the long-term vision for the road network.

The reforms will see the Highways Agency turned into a government-owned company, helping to improve efficiency and reduce running costs. Road users are set to benefit from a more effective road network and will have a greater say in how their roads operate, with taxpayers expected to benefit from savings of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

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