Government announces £25bn improvements to English roads – what will it be spent on?
Sajid Javid has revealed 14 major improvement projects to England’s roads, as part of a multi-billion-pound government package to enhance infrastructure across the country
The proposed upgrades will target major roads as part of an “infrastructure revolution”, with work set to be carried out over five years from 2020.
The Chancellor called the plans “the biggest increase in infrastructure investment by the government that this country has ever seen.”
What will this mean for drivers?
In total, 14 major routes have been earmarked for improvement, with a focus on increasing capacity. The A66 Trans-Pennine expressway near the Scottish border will be made a full dual carriageway, along with the A46 Newark bypass.
Other projects include improvements to the M60 Simister Island interchange in Manchester and upgrades to the A428 between Cambridge and Milton Keynes.
Funding for the new routes and completion of ongoing projects will come through both borrowing and the taxpayer, without an increase in taxes, Mr Javid confirmed, adding: “Our roads are the arteries of our country.”
Andrew Pritchard, Director of Policy and Infrastructure at East Midlands Councils and Transport for the East Midlands explained: “The A46 Newark northern bypass will improve connectivity across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire and unlock much needed new jobs and homes.”
Plans to widen the A12 between Chelmsford and Colchester, have been met with the approval of local businesses. David Burch, head of policy at Essex Chamber of Commerce, said the funding is a “real benefit” to businesses in the county.
He explained that congestion and accidents have taken their toll and change is needed as soon as possible to the major route.
Earlier this year, transport data firm Inrix calculated that the UK economy lost £7.9bn as a result of traffic jams in 2018.
At the time, RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “While congestion has for some been seen as a marker of a successful city, there can be no doubting the enormous cost of it.”
The Chancellor’s road plans are part of a wider infrastructure investment that include a £5bn package to support broadband roll-out in the hardest-to-reach 20% of the country.
A further £220m has been promised to improve bus services, with plans to include the UK’s first all-electric bus town and trials for on demand bus networks that will restore closed rural routes.
Mr Javid added: “The full benefits of our infrastructure revolution may not be felt for some time. But the work must start here and now.”
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