Good news for road building
01 January 2003 - 00:00
"PROSPECTS for road building are looking brighter that at any time in the last 10 years following the Government’s recent announcement of a £2 billion road-widening programme, in an effort to tackle traffic congestion at some of the country’s most notorious bottlenecks."
"The road-improvement plan forms a significant part of a £5.5 billion package of national and local transport measures unveiled last month by the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling."
"Road schemes which have been given the green light include the widening of the M6 to four lanes each way between Manchester and Birmingham, the widening of over 50 miles of the M1 in the East Midlands, the dualling of significant sections the A1, A303 and A453 trunk roads, as well as hundreds of smaller improvement schemes across the country."
"In a statement to MPs, Mr Darling said the transport package aimed to tackle decades of under-investment and stop-go funding by successive governments. And speaking specifically about roads, he said the time had come to face up to the fact that some of the country’s roads were 30–40 years old, especially some of the strategic corridors."
"The £2 billion earmarked for road widening has been welcomed by the Quarry Products Association, although it says the figure has to be regarded as relatively modest when measured against the commitments made in the Government’s 10-year transport plan."
"The QPA’s economist, Jerry McLaughlin, described the announcement as a ‘positive move’ but said it had to be put into perspective. ‘There is nothing new here –– what we have is a fleshing out of the Government’s existing transport promises."
"‘Nevertheless, after the recent lull following the initial excitement over the 10-year plan, it does signal that the Government has realized it now needs to take action to make things happen and it provides confirmation that it is starting to press ahead with its plans.’"
"Mr McLaughlin added that the Secretary of State’s announcement backed up the QPA’s view that infrastructure work is likely to be the main driver of aggregates sector demand over the next five to 10 years, but he warned that this would lead to only modest increases in volumes rather than a bonanza."
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