More often than not blogs allow for comment, but on occasion they have a role to play as a place of record; such as now. It is sometimes hard to keep track of what transport announcements the Government makes, so to help I am putting below more details of the news this morning that six major road schemes are going forward for development. Though there is no commitment to then take the schemes forward to construction, it would be odd if the commitment of funds for development work did not then lead to shovels in the ground, especially given that these schemes are to a large extent known quantities.
“The development work – to be carried out over the next three years – will ensure that a ‘pipeline’ of future Highways Agency major infrastructure improvements will be maintained, contributing to future economic growth, and supporting Government’s National Infrastructure Plan. By developing these now, proposals will be in a good position to be considered for delivery in the early years of the next spending review period (post 2015).
“The six schemes are:
- M4 Junctions 3-12 managed motorway scheme; Thames Valley
- M25 Junction 30 / A13 congestion relief scheme, Thurrock;
- A19/A1058 Coast Road Junction improvement; North Tyneside
- A21 Tonbridge – Pembury widening; Kent
- A63 Castle Street improvements, Hull; and
- A160/A180 improvements, Immingham
“Roads Minister Mike Penning said:
“We are committed to tackling congestion, keeping traffic moving and supporting the UK economy, putting in money where it’s most needed and where the public will get a good return on investment.
“We have already announced around £3bn of investment to complete work on Highways Agency major road projects under construction and to allow work to start before March 2015 on 20 much-needed road improvement schemes.
“Today, I am confirming development work will be advanced on a further six schemes around the country. This means they will be in a good position to be selected for start of works in the early years of the next spending review period.”
“The development work will focus on designing and consulting on proposals, along with progressing any necessary statutory processes.
“Today’s announcement also marks the conclusion of a review process for four schemes – including the M4 J3-12 managed motorway scheme – from the 2010 Spending Review.
“The M3 Junctions 2-4a managed motorway scheme has already been added to the roads programme with a start of work date of 2013/14.
“The two remaining proposals, the M20 Junction 10a and M54 to M6/M6 Toll link road, will continue to be considered for future delivery along with other schemes.
“Those proposals not selected at this time to have their development work advanced are still good schemes that address clear problems, and the Department will continue to work with key stakeholders to drive down costs and maximise public value for money.
- Schemes were assessed according to their economic case (Benefit Cost Ratio), how well they fit strategically with the needs of the network and the economy, and their readiness for construction. Advancing the development work of the six schemes does not guarantee that they will be funded; decisions about which schemes will enter the programme in the next period will be taken at the next spending review.
- The investment to develop the schemes will come from efficiencies achieved by the Highways Agency in delivering improvements to major roads that are in the current roads programme.
- The Highways Agency will be working through the optimum programme and final costs for the development of each scheme shortly and further announcements on next steps for each scheme will be made in due course.
- In addition to the six schemes selected to have their development work funded, the Highways Agency are continuing to develop the A5 – M1 Link Road (Dunstable Northern Bypass) following the Government having secured £45 million private sector investment towards the scheme.”