£15m earmarked for South West road improvements

£15m earmarked for South West road improvements
Improvements to the M4 and M5/A30 are set to become a reality as part of a newly-announced £20 million scheme in the South West and North East of England.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, says the new package of upgrades will contribute towards the creation of thousands of jobs and homes in the region.

Those living in Exeter, Swindon and Weston-super-Mare are likely to be the benefactors of 3,300 new homes and 6,000 jobs.

In a separate package, Mr Grayling also announced £2.54 million of funding for the A1 in the North East, set to boost economic growth in Darlington.

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Speaking in Exeter, the Transport Secretary said: “We’re undertaking the biggest modernisation programme for a generation to bring our roads into the 21st century and give people the safe and reliable journeys they expect.

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“But these improvements will do even more – allowing the construction of thousands of homes and the creation of thousands of jobs to give a huge boost to the area’s economy.”

While private sector developer contributions will make up a significant chunk of the contributions for these projects, at least £11 million will be invested by Highways England from its Growth and Housing Fund.

This £100 million fund is an additional investment to the Government’s £15 billion roads package earmarked for spend between 2015 and 2020. To date it is thought to have paved the way for a total of 9,000 homes and 10,000 jobs in the country.

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In specific terms, the four newly-announced schemes are:

Swindon – £5m earmarked for the intersection of the M4 Junction 15 and the A419, to start in 2018.

Exeter – £9.1m will be spent on the A30/M5 J29 Tithebarn Link Road, including a new cycle bridge over the M5 and a new link road to the M30.

Western-Super-Mare – £1.2m to improve the northbound M5 at J21.

Darlington – £2.54m to improve J28 of the A1(M), due to be completed in 2017.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “We’re committed to working with local partners to deliver specific schemes such as these which will make a real difference to communities and support regional economies.

“The improvements we are announcing today are necessary to accommodate the extra journeys the developments will create but without the Government investment they would not have been viable.

“We will continue to use our Growth and Housing Fund and work with a range of local stakeholders to unlock further development sites around the country.”

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