Government details £27.4 billion investment in strategic roads

The government has announced more details on its plans to improve major roads in England as part of a £27.4 billion investment.

First detailed in March, the largest chunk of the investment – £14bn – will be used to upgrade the country’s motorways and A-roads, with a view to improving their quality, capacity and safety.

Flagship projects include building a new road tunnel under the Thames between Essex and Kent, speeding up journeys between the Channel ports and the rest of the country and upgrading the A66 to create a new Trans-Pennine dual-carriageway.

The money will also be spent on improving the major direct route between the South East and South West by building a tunnel near Stonehenge and widening the A19 in Sunderland, among other projects.

The second-largest proportion of the investment, claimed to be the largest ever in UK strategic roads, will go towards improving everyday journeys by repairing and replacing parts of the network. Almost £11bn is set aside for this task.

The government also claims that it will resurface nearly 5000 lane-miles of road, install or renew more than 1000 miles of safety barriers on motorways and dual-carriageways and renew more than 170 bridges and other structures.

Between £300m and £400m has been set aside to replace ageing concrete sections on the A14, M5, M18, M20, M42, M54 and M56.

Finally, £1bn will be spent on broader road-improvement projects, such as conserving cultural heritage or strengthening flood resilience and improving access for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. A further £1.4bn was recently spent on upgrading the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Highways England said its plans will help support 64,000 construction industry jobs.

Boss Jim O’Sullivan said: “We now have a strong track record of delivering new schemes and operating the network for the benefit of our customers and the communities we serve.

“The plan we’re launching today will protect and create jobs to aid the nation’s recovery and make journeys faster and more reliable for freight and road users.”