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Government insists highway projects will boost economy and housing

Published: Thursday, 1st December 2016

Transport Secretary sets out further details for the £1.3bn road investment funding announced in the Autumn Statement...

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has stressed that the lion’s share of highways funding announced last week in the Autumn Statement will focus on schemes which help the delivery of vital new housing developments and unlock economic and job creation.

This was highlighted in a Commons statement on Monday which revealed that funding for the further development of business cases for six schemes from the large local major projects fund will go-ahead in addition to the six announced in the Autumn Statement. Approval was also given for the start of construction of the Lincoln Eastern bypass.

The six schemes included in the Autumn Statement were:

  • The Suffolk Energy Gateway new road
  • The A1079/A164 Jocks Lodge Junction
  • The Shrewsbury North West Relief Road
  • Tees Valley east-west connections
  • The Sheffield Mass Transit Scheme
  • The Warrington Waterfront Western link.

The further six schemes which will receive funding to develop business cases are:

  • The Sheffield City Region Innovation Corridor
  • The Manchester Metrolink airport extension to Terminal 2
  • The Melton Mowbray Eastern Distributor Road
  • A New Tees Crossing;
  • A500 dualling in Cheshire
  • The South Coventry Link Road

Grayling commented: “This means that development and feasibility work can proceed to the next stage. It does not mean every scheme is certain to go ahead and it remains a competitive process. However, many of these will be among the next set of projects that we build in this country.”

The Department for Transport has now published reports on five strategic studies into major improvements on the national road network. On the back of these, government is committing to taking forward major improvements at three points on the national network:

  • Upgrading the A66 to dual carriageway, creating the first new all-dual trans-Pennine link since 1971
  • Improving the M60 around Manchester – the second busiest road in the country
  • Building a new Oxford-Cambridge expressway, to link up three of England’s fastest growing cities.

Two further studies, into further upgrading of the A1 in the East of England and building a trans-Pennine tunnel, are also reporting. Further economic analysis is to follow, with particular reference to emerging housing plans, before decisions on next steps. A sixth study, on the M25 South West Quadrant, will report in 2017.

Read the written statement to Parliament

Roger Milne