Highways England sets out £2.2bn roads plan for the South East

Highways England has set out how £2.2 billion will be spent on adding 120 miles of extra lanes in the South East along with 24 major improvements that will start by 2020.

The investment will see improvements and repairs along a series of motorways and A roads between now and 2021, giving road users simpler, faster and more reliable journeys.

The work is part of the government’s ‘Road Investment Strategy’ to triple levels of spending on roads by the end of the decade, which was announced last year. Highways England, the government-owned company which took over responsibility for England’s motorways and major A roads earlier this year, set out its plan for the South East at an event at the Mandolay Hotel in Guildford yesterday (24 September).

Work will start on 24 new major projects by 2020, in addition to upgrades already underway on the M3, A21 and M25 at junction 30, cutting congestion and improving journey times for drivers.

Roads Minister Andrew Jones (pictured) said: “Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under investment.

“The government has a long term plan to secure the country’s economic future. This £2.2 billion investment in the region’s roads will directly benefit hard working families across the South East.

Simon Jones, South East regional director at Highways England, added: “Around 8.7 million people live and work in South East England, more than any other region, and our 932 miles of major roads are some of the busiest in Europe. The M25 alone is used to make an estimated one million journeys every day. We’re delivering £2.2bn investment in improvements to the South East’s motorways and major A roads over the next five years.

“That includes nearly 150 miles of extra lanes, new junctions, and measures to tackle congestion, benefiting businesses, local residents and road users as well as delivering a fourfold return on investment for the UK economy.

“The region’s motorways and dual carriageways are vital for our economy and this huge investment will ensure they remain fit for purpose for many years to come.”

  • Major upgrades that will begin in the South East over the next five years include:
  • Enhancing capacity on the M3 between Winchester and Southampton
  • Enhancing capacity on the M27 between Southampton and Fareham
  • Upgrading the M20 near Maidstone to a smart motorway
  • Upgrading the M4 to a smart motorway between Reading and the M25
  • Tackling congestion on the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury
  • Upgrading the A27 in Sussex
  • Improving junctions on the A2 near Bean and Ebbslfeet
  • Improving the A34 between the M4 and M40
  • Increasing capacity on the M2 between Sittingbourne and Maidstone
  • Improving junctions on the M3 near Winchester
  • Improving the M27 and M271 near Southampton
  • Tackling delays on the A31 near Ringwood in Hampshire
  • Improving access to the A12 and A3 from the M25
  • Upgrading the M25 to the latest generation of smart motorway, with five lanes between the M40 and Chertsey
  • Developing plans to reduce congestion on the A3 near Guildford
  • Developing plans for an additional Lower Thames Crossing.

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