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Motorway upgrade works to start a year early

Motorway upgrade works

Crucial road improvements to be delivered twice as fast under Government fast-track plan

TRANSPORT Secretary Patrick McLoughlin this week announced the acceleration of three multi-million pound motorway upgrade schemes, which will now be delivered in this spending review period rather than the next, as the Government introduces major improvements to the way road schemes are planned and built.

This new way of working should, in future, see extra lanes added to motorways in up to half the time it normally takes.

The three schemes being accelerated are: 

  • M1 from J28 to J31 in Derbyshire (18.9 miles)
  • M3 from J2 to J4a in Surrey (13.4 miles)
  • M6 from J10a to J13in the West Midlands (9.6 miles).

Work on all three upgrades is now expected to start in 2013/14 instead of 2014/15 and will be completed by spring 2015 instead of during the next financial year – 2015/16.

Vital improvements to the A160/A180 route to the Port of Immingham, including upgrading it to dual carriageway, will also start sooner than originally planned. Construction here will commence in the summer of 2015 and be completed by autumn 2016, cutting 18 months off the original timetable.

Mr McLoughlin said: ‘I am determined to cut in half the time it takes to upgrade our roads by dismantling procedures that have slowed us down. My ambition is that, in future, all major road schemes will be accelerated, tackling congestion more quickly and boosting the economy.’

Both the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency have been looking at how to speed up the decision-making process and the time it takes to have roads ready for use by motorists and hauliers.

They estimate that by undertaking concurrent planning, design and construction preparation activities, using more prefabricated and pre-assembled units, and moving towards a 24h operation with more people on site working on multiple phases at once, around 1km of managed motorway can be built every two weeks instead of every four.

Although the accelerated schemes announced this week will largely involve the conversion of existing hard shoulders into traffic lanes and the introduction of variable speed limits to help reduce congestion, a significant amount of surfacing work is also anticipated.

It is expected that more complex, traditional capacity improvements on non-motorway routes, such as the A160/A180 Immingham improvements, will be delivered up to 25% quicker.

This commitment to faster delivery means the Government will be bringing forward £75 million of investment forward into this spending review. 

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