The government has approved funding to tackle a number of congested local roads and improve key points on the strategic road network.
Measures announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin include £49 million from the Local Pinch Point Fund for 25 congestion-busting local roads schemes, building on 87 already announced this year; confirmation of nearly £111 million for the M6-Heysham link road, along with funding for projects to improve the M55 J1, A1, and M62 J19; and electrification of the Wigan-to-Bolton railway line.
He said: “Whether it’s unblocking bottlenecks on local roads, improving trouble spots on our motorways and trunk roads, or working to deliver better railways through electrification, these projects will benefit communities up and down the country and help keep Britain moving. By investing in our local and regional transport infrastructure we can help support new jobs and boost our overall competitiveness in the global economic race.”
Of the 25 new local pinch point schemes, many are expected to be delivered in 2014 and 2015. This announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the government’s Local Pinch Point Fund to 112. The £266 million which has been awarded to local authorities since the start of the fund will enable local transport improvements of over £511 million to go ahead. The fund reflects the government’s commitment to supporting economic growth by tackling barriers on the local highway network that may be restricting the movement of goods and people. The fund is aimed at schemes that can be delivered quickly with immediate impact.
The areas benefiting from the funding allocated on Friday (13 December 2013) are: Birmingham; Blackpool; Bracknell Forest; Cheshire West and Chester; Cornwall; Coventry; Cumbria; Darlington; East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Essex; Hampshire; Lancashire; Leeds; Leicester; Newcastle; North East Lincolnshire; North Somerset; Northamptonshire; Oldham; Oxfordshire; Salford; Southend on Sea; Stockport; Warwickshire; Wolverhampton.
In addition, the government is outlining further action on the following roads schemes:
- The government is confirming nearly £111 million funding for the M6 – Heysham Link Road. The scheme will complete the connection from the M6 at Junction 34 to the Morecambe Bypass, improving access to the Port of Heysham and the surrounding area for local people and businesses
- A new junction on the M55 near Bartle, Preston, will be built to support the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire city deal. This development will provide relief for the heavily congested M55 J1 at Broughton and improve access to the Warton enterprise zone. Estimated to cost between £25 to 30 million, this will also help to unlock delivery of the north west Preston strategic location for housing, which will see more than 4,000 homes built in the area
- The scope of the £64 million A1 Lobley Hill to Dunston improvement scheme, announced in the Autumn Statement 2012, will be extended (subject to consideration of the business case). Easing congestion on the A1 Western Bypass, the £20 million extension scheme will provide an additional lane in both directions between Lobley Hill and the Coal House junction at the southern end of the existing scheme and from Dunston to Metro Centre junction on the southbound carriageway, giving a total continuous 3 lane section of approximately 6.4 kilometres
- Improvements will be made to the M62 J19 near Rochdale, including the installation of new traffic lights, to facilitate a new link road between the M62 J19 and the A6045. Estimated to cost £1.5 million, this will help to unlock the planned employment, retail and residential growth in the South Heywood Economic Corridor, helping to create over 2,000 jobs. Construction is expected to start in summer 2015 and last for a two year period.