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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kelly announces £6bn motorway improvements

London will receive £2.1m through the Urban Congestion Performance Fund

Ruth Kelly, Transport Secretary, today announced a £6 billion investment package to improve and make better use of England's motorways and other key roads and also published the Command Paper 'Roads - Delivering Choice and Reliability' setting out more detail on her innovative plans to tackle congestion, both on strategic routes and in our towns and cities.

This will fund a mix of techniques to get the most out of the existing network, such as opening the hard shoulder to traffic, taking forward the Advanced Motorway Signalling and Traffic Management Feasibility Study which identified almost 500 lane miles of motorway with the potential for hard shoulder running.

The Command Paper confirms that the M25 Junctions 5-7 and 23-27, the M3 and M4 approaching the M25 and the M23 Junctions 8-10 around Gatwick are being considered for hard shoulder running. The £6bn package includes funding for widening the M25 between Junctions 16 and 23 and between 27 and 30.

In addition, London will receive £2.1m through the Urban Congestion Performance Fund.

Ruth Kelly said:

"I am determined to get the best from our road network so that motorists in London have reliable journey times on roads that are safe and well-managed. The greatest barrier to this is congestion. It is frustrating and has serious consequences for the economy and the environment.

"To achieve this we need a smarter programme of investment. The £6 billion I am announcing today will allow us to develop and implement more innovative approaches to the way we use our major roads. This includes measures like opening the hard shoulder when traffic is at its heaviest, alongside some conventional widening where that makes best sense.

"Where we add new capacity through measures like this I am also interested to see what role car share or tolled lanes could play in helping traffic flow more smoothly - giving motorists a choice about how they make their journeys."

New funding has also been announced for our biggest towns and cities, recognising that 80% of congestion is currently in urban areas. This sees eight areas - Bristol, Greater Manchester, Leicester, London, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands - benefiting from the first allocation of the performance-based £60m Urban Congestion Performance Fund.

Leeds has also won pump-priming funding to join those local authorities looking at tackling congestion through public transport improvements combined with local congestion charging. Cambridgeshire and Reading also receive further pump-priming funds to carry on developing their congestion-busting plans.

Ruth Kelly added:

"The majority of congestion is in our towns and cities, where the answer cannot be building new roads. That is why I will continue to support councils who want to investigate whether radical packages, which include public transport improvements combined with local congestion charging, would be the right solution for them."

Today's announcement includes:

- Up to £6bn in funding for improvements to strategic national roads in the period up to 2014 to cut congestion, support economic growth and improve road safety.

- Further details of how the hard shoulder could be used to provide extra space on the motorway network. We are looking in particular at sections of the motorway network previously planned for widening, and at some new locations including the M3 and M4 approaches to London, the M4 and M5 around Bristol and the M3 and M27 around Southampton. We are also considering how to make best use of the extra capacity, including looking at successful examples of dedicated or tolled lane use in America and hard-shoulder running in Europe.

- Revised cost estimates for the Highways Agency Major Roads Programme, including regional priorities.

- Pump priming funding for Cambridgeshire, Reading and Leeds through the up to £200m a year Transport Innovation Fund to allow them to investigate how they can manage congestion in innovative ways.

- The first tranche of performance-based funding from the £60m Urban Congestion Performance Fund. The first performance payments, totalling £6 million, will be shared between Bristol, Greater Manchester, Leicester, London, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands.

An additional £8m to help local authorities manage their transport assets more effectively.


posted by transport blogs @ 5:40 AM permanent link   | Post a Comment |




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