Several road improvement schemes delayed

Several road improvement schemes delayed
Sixteen road improvement projects have been delayed and six face cancellation, in order for Highways England to ensure “value for money”.

Including work on the M3, M60 and A5, the projects are part of a £15 billion Government investment into A-roads and motorways.

While expressing concern over the postponed schemes, the RAC says it is at least “encouraging” that Highways England is trying to minimise disruption in certain crunch areas.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the “re-profiling and optimisation” of delivery is consistent with Highways England's remit.

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As well as the delayed and under-threat projects, there are a further 10 schemes which are being brought forward.

Of the delayed projects – which include work around Greater Manchester, Winchester and Nuneaton – all but one were due to begin within two years, and will put off for at least three.

Six projects may not happen at all after Highways England said they were being “paused for further review” to achieve an acceptable return on investment.

Among these are technology upgrades on both the M11 from Stanstead to Cambridge, and A12 between London and Suffolk. Also delayed is the proposed conversion to a smart motorway of a stretch of M53 in Ellesmere Port.

Hailing the updates as “sensible and responsible,” Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan added the schemes will eventually “keep our roads moving, deliver a lasting legacy for the country and ensure best value for money for the taxpayer.”

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RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: “While it is concerning that a number of projects which were due to be delivered through the Government’s Road Investment Strategy for the strategic road network have been delayed, it is encouraging that Highways England is trying to minimise disruption by avoiding too many roadworks in nearby areas.

“This reprioritisation of schemes announcement will inevitably be extremely frustrating for some motorists who will now have to wait even longer for promised upgrades to certain key sections of the strategic road network, but equally others will be happy to see schemes that affect them being brought forward.

“With congestion levels getting worse as a result of record numbers of vehicles using our roads it is vitally important that the schemes have been prioritised in such a way as to make the biggest difference to improving overall road capacity.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.