New road construction frozen for two years

Grant Prior 14 years ago
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No new roads will start construction until 2012/13 as the bad news continued to dribble out from the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond also shelved another 14 major road schemes worth more than £1bn until at least 2015.

Hammond confirmed that 14 Highways Agency schemes will “not enter construction until at least 2015”.

All other schemes given the go-ahead during his latest spending announcement will not start on site until 2012/13.

The projects put on the back burner until 2015 are:

– M1/M6 Junction 19 Improvement
– M25 Junction 30
– M6 Junctions 10a – 13
– A14 Kettering Bypass
– A160/A180 Immingham
– A19 Testos
– A19/A1058 Coast Road Junction
– A21 Tonbridge – Pembury
– A27 Chichester Bypass
– A38 Derby Junctions
– A45/A46 Tollbar End
– A453 Widening
– A5-M1 Link Road
– A63 Castle Street

A further four schemes will be reviewed “to ensure the design is the best possible, and to see if there are better ways to sequence the work.”

They are the M20 Junction 10a, M3 Junctions 2 – 4a, M4 Junctions 3 – 12 and the M54 to M6/M6 Toll link road.

Alasdair Reisner, CECA Head of Industry Affairs, said: “It is highly regrettable that a large number of road schemes are being held back.

“Both Strategic and local road projects have taken a big hit, depriving some parts of England of much needed transport improvements. Local growth in areas such as the North East, East Midlands and the South West may now be held back as a result.

“Overall, contractors were expecting transport infrastructure to play a part in the cuts, but this will have an impact beyond the civils sector, disadvantaging businesses and communities across England.”

Hammond also announced the go-ahead for 16 road and public transport schemes – but none will start on site before 2012/13. They are the:

– M60 Junctions 8 – 12
– M1 Junctions 32 – 35a
– M60 Junctions 12 – 15
– M1 Junctions 39 – 42
– M62 Junctions 18 – 20
– M25 Junctions 5 – 6/7
– M25 Junctions 23 – 27
– M6 Junctions 5 – 8
– A556 Knutsford – Bowdon

The following key local infrastructure projects were also confirmed, subject to a best and final offer from local authorities:

– A new single carriageway bypass which will ease congestion in Sefton and improve access to the region’s motorway network;

– An integrated package of sustainable transport improvements in Ipswich including improved bus facilities and walking and cycling routes;

– Improvements to M5 J29, east of Exeter, providing access to new housing and employment areas;

– A bypass to the north of Lancaster, connecting the port of Heysham to the M6;

– Improvements on the A57 east of M1 J31, near Todwick;

– A new road in Taunton to provide additional cross-town capacity and access to areas of brownfield land; and

– A new bus station and associated transport improvements in Mansfield.

The Department confirmed: “The level of funding required for schemes already under construction is such that it is unlikely that any new schemes will be able to begin construction before 2012/13.”

Hammond also announced a pot of over £600m of funding for further local authority projects. Local authorities will be invited to bid for this funding over the next few months. Councils will be challenged to consider the cost, scope and possibility of local funding when bidding.

The Government believes this competitive process will ensure that the greatest possible number of schemes, with the best value for money, will be able to proceed, facilitating economic growth and providing jobs across the country.

Hammond said: “Whilst we have had to make some tough choices, I am pleased that spending on transport was treated as a priority for the Government in the Spending Review.

“This Government sees transport as a key driver of growth nationally and in the regions. So I am delighted to be able to give the green light to 24 new transport projects and a fund worth over £600m for many more schemes to bid for.

“Taken together, this investment will not only bring benefits in terms of reduced congestion, shorter journey times and more efficient public transport, but also provide a vital economic boost. For every pound we spend on Highways Agency schemes, on average we will get back £6 of benefits and in many cases there are even higher returns for local authority schemes.

“Transport is vital to securing the UK’s long term prosperity. That is why these schemes are so important and why I will continue to argue for investment which delivers long term benefits for both the travelling public and the economy as a whole.”

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