New technology, better infrastructure and reforming how roads are maintained in the future was at the heart of Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s speech to the construction industry today (9 July 2014).
Outlining the government’s vision for the road network at the New Civil Engineer’s conference, the Transport Secretary set out how congestion and pollution can be tackled in the future. He made clear that building new roads is not always the right solution to cutting congestion – but about thinking differently, using better data on traffic flow, and making targeted road improvements to better roads for motorists.
The Transport Secretary also set out how the government’s commitment to tripling the amount spent on road improvements to over £3 billion a year by 2021 was also essential for an efficient future road network. The reformation of the Highways Agency into a government-owned company is predicted to save at least £2.4 billion over the next 10 years, which - along with secure government funding - will help to put an end to stop-start investment and strengthen England’s road network.
The Transport Secretary also called on the industry to make sure they have their say. He said it was vital that we have the ‘right people, with the right skills’ to implement the government’s £24 billion investment plan for the road network.
Patrick McLoughlin said:
We need more skilled workers. You are the experts and understand how fast the road landscape is changing. We want to hear from you and how together we can make things better.
Later this year the Department for Transport will publish a long-term ‘roads investment strategy’ to support the government’s economic ambitions for the road network. The strategy will set out a clear vision for the reform of the Highways Agency and include a new 5 year plan for future road investment.