Thomas Bridge 01 December 2014

Government unveils £15bn road investment plan

A £15bn road investment plan unveiled today will see a 1.8mile road tunnel built under Stonehenge, among a raft of schemes designed to raise capacity.

The Government this morning unveiled plans to fund over 100 road schemes, 84 of which are new projects. Alongside the £2bn investment in the South West, plans were put in place to ‘drive forward’ creation of a Northern Powerhouse with connectivity improvements between Manchester and Sheffield and a ‘smart motorway’ along the M62 between Manchester and Leeds.

Long-anticipated to be a central plank of this week’s Autumn Statement, the spending plan for England’s roads will include adding £10bn to a previously announced £15bn of maintenance funding for the local and national network.

The entire A303 and A358 to the South West will be converted into a dual carriageway, while £290m will be allocated to complete dualling of the A1 from London to Ellingham 25miles from the Scottish border.

Some £300m will be invested to upgrade connectivity between London and the east of England, while a third on junctions on the M25 will also see improvement.

Chancellor George Osborne, said: ‘Our plans will transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes, with ambitious projects to dual the A303, A1, A27 and the A47 as well as spending on important local infrastructure boosting productivity and helping local economies.

‘For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs for the future and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.’

However Labour’s shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher blasted the plan as ‘yet another re-announcement on promised road improvements’ with ‘no additional money’.

‘The Tory-led Government’s record on road investment has been one of cutting investment, then promising to restore it after 2015, cancelling road schemes such as the A14 and then reinstating them, and constantly failing to meet deadlines for the completion of improvements.

‘And local roads have been completely ignored under this Government. Maintenance investment in local roads has declined by 11% in real terms from 2010 to 2014. And local authority budgets, which provide funding for roads maintenance, have been slashed by a third. They are pretending to give with one hand, having taken away so much with the other.’

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