The Transport Secretary has announced Highways England road improvement schemes worth up to £20 million that he ways will create thousands of jobs and homes in the South West.
Chris Grayling believes the improvements to the M4 and M5/A30 will unlock the development of more than 3,300 homes and create more than 6,000 jobs for people living in Swindon, Exeter and Weston-super-Mare.
He also announced a £2.54 million scheme on the A1 which will boost economic growth in Darlington in the North East.
The news came as Mr Grayling visited Exeter to see how the road improvements will change lives in the area. He said, “We’re undertaking the biggest modernisation programme for a generation to bring our roads into the 21st century and give people the safe and reliable journeys they expect. But these improvements will do even more – allowing the construction of thousands of homes and the creation of thousands of jobs to give a huge boost to the area’s economy.”
Highways England is investing more than £11 million in these four schemes from its Growth and Housing Fund, with private sector developer contributions making up the rest.
The £100 million fund is in addition to the Government’s £15 billion investment in roads between 2015 and 2020, and provides financial contributions towards the cost of road improvements that are needed for new developments which promise swift delivery of homes and jobs.
The Government says that, to date, the fund has paved the way for a total 9,000 homes and 10,000 jobs across the country.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said, “We’re committed to working with local partners to deliver specific schemes such as these which will make a real difference to communities and support regional economies. The improvements we are announcing today are necessary to accommodate the extra journeys the developments will create but without the Government investment they would not have been viable.
“We will continue to use our Growth and Housing Fund and work with a range of local stakeholders to unlock further development sites around the country.”
The four schemes announced today are:
· £5 million for improvements –- to the intersection of the M4 Junction 15 and the A419 near Swindon. Construction of the scheme will start in 2018.
· £4.5 million to deliver the A30 / M5 J29 Tithebarn Link Road, at the strategically important intersection of the A30 / A303 and the M5 to the east of Exeter. The scheme comprises a new cycle bridge over the M5 and a new link road connected to the M30. It is also designed to reduce traffic on the A30 link to the M5 J29 and provide an alternative to the existing route crossing the M5 at junction 29. The scheme is supported by £4.6m in contributions from the developer and will open in March 2019.
· £750,000 funding to improve the northbound M5 at Junction 21, near Weston-super-Mare. This is aimed at supporting the ‘Weston Villages’ develop 6,000 new houses and 4,000 new jobs to the west of the M5 at Junction 21. Developers are investing £450,000 and the scheme will be completed in 2018.
· £1.01 million to improve junction 58 of the A1(M) at Darlington, at two development sites which could see the construction of 1,200 homes and create 5,000 new jobs. The work, which is due to complete in 2017, will include improvements to the A68 Rotary Way roundabout and the West Park Garden Village Link Road. The scheme will be delivered in March 2018 and is supported by £1.46 million contributions from the developer.