A £300 million grant to upgrade to the A47 including the stretch between Peterborough and the A1 is among a raft of roads spending announced by the Government today (1 December).
Described as “the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades” a £15 billion spending plan on road schemes was announced this morning.
But Labour accused Prime Minister David Cameron of having “a record on infrastructure that is one of all talk and no delivery” while the RAC Foundation warned that the road network would have to cope with an expected seven million more drivers within 20 years.
It has been pointed out that many of the 80 new English road schemes announced today in a £15 billion package are in key coalition constituencies but Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “You don’t make decisions like this based on a political map.”
Mr Clegg was at Stonehenge, where the Government has announced that the A303 close to the famous stones will be put into a tunnel, thus easing conditions at a notorious bottleneck.
A total of £1.5 billion is being spent on adding extra lanes to some motorways, while improvements to junctions on the M25, to the A27 in Sussex, to approaches to Liverpool and to the A1 in the north east of England are also contained in the package.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it was “the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades”, while Chancellor George Osborne said it would “transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes” .
Chief Secretary to the Treasury and chairman of the Cabinet infrastructure committee Danny Alexander said the projects would “help unleash the economic potential of both the regions they serve and of the overall economy”.
But shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher said: “The Government has ‘announced’ plans for road investment at least three times since 2013.
“We know David Cameron’s record on infrastructure is one of all talk and no delivery. Hard-pressed motorists have been consistently let down by this Government.”
While welcoming the road plans, the RAC Foundation said the number of road users will leap from 36 million to 43 million if current trends persist.
The foundation’s director Professor Stephen Glaister said the country faced “massive challenges in unclogging our urban areas”.
What do you think of the spending plans and upgrades to the A47 - where would you have spent the money?
The schemes announced today include:
• East of England - £300 million to upgrade the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and A11.
• South West - £2 billion to dual the entire A303 and A358 to the South West, including a tunnel at Stonehenge. This will allow road users to drive on a dual carriageway from London to within 15 miles of Land’s End.
• North East - £290 million to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Ellingham, just 25 miles from the Scottish border.
• North West and Yorkshire - Driving forward the Northern Powerhouse project by completing the smart (lane increasing) motorway along the entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds, Together with improvements to transpennine capacity from Manchester to Sheffield, this represents the first increase in transpennine capacity since 1971.
• North West - Improving links to the port of Liverpool, as part of a plan of 12 projects designed to improve access to major international gateways.
• South East - £350 million of improvements to the A27 along the south coast, tackling severe congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.
• London and the South East - Improving one-third of the junctions on the entire M25, Britain’s busiest motorway.
• Midlands: improving the M42 to the east of Birmingham, improving the connectivity to Birmingham airport, the National Exhibition Centre, the local Enterprise Zone, and pave the way for the new High Speed 2 interchange station.
Read more about the Major roads investment in the east of England at gov.uk