Roads Minister Andrew Jones says there has never been a better time to work in the highways industry.
Speaking at last night’s Highways Magazine Excellence Awards, the MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough said: “There has never been a better time to work in our highways industry. For years, the industry gave successive governments a clear message.
“You said: Not enough money is being spent on Britain’s roads. Driver numbers are up. And with the money that’s being spent, the quality of the network is going down.
“Successive governments heard that message, but they were not always listening. The result was that by 2010, the World Economic Forum ranked Britain’s roads 35th in the world for quality.
“That’s not surprising when you consider that in the last 25 years, the French ordered and built more than two and a half thousand miles of new motorway.
“While we built just 300 miles. So that is why I am glad to say today: at last you have a government that has been listening.
We agree with you that we need to spend more on our roads. So that is exactly what we are doing.”
Mr Jones described the men and women who maintain the road network as “some of the most hard-working, skilled, and, frankly, most important professionals in the country.”
He continued: “We are spending over £2 billion on local schemes. £6 billion to maintain the local network. And an unprecedented £15 billion on our strategic network.
“We will get 1,300 miles of new motorway lanes. New surfaces for 80 per cent of our most important existing roads.
“Better links to our airports and our sea ports. In total, over 100 major schemes, including widening key links such as the A1 north of Newcastle, and the A303 to the South West, and a new, faster route on the A14 from Cambridge.
“On the local network we are funding schemes such as the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, and new bypasses around Lancaster, Hastings, and the south of Manchester. Altogether, it’s by far the biggest investment in our roads for a generation. And it means that the highways industry is a thriving growth industry.”
You can read the Minister’s speech in full here.