Press release

Crucial road improvements to be delivered twice as fast

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Accelerated improvements to various motorways will see more benefits for drivers and hauliers.

Motorists and hauliers will benefit from increased capacity on England’s motorways by spring 2015 thanks to the acceleration of 3 upgrades, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (20 November 2012).

These will be delivered in this spending review period rather than the next, as the government introduces major improvements to the way road schemes are planned and built.

This new way of working should in future see lanes added to motorways in up to half the time it normally takes.

The 3 schemes being accelerated are:

  • M3 J2 to 4a, Surrey
  • M6 J10a to 13, West Midlands
  • M1 J28 to 31, Derbyshire

Vital improvements to A160/A180 route to the port of Immingham will also start construction sooner than originally planned in the summer of 2015 and completed autumn 2016 - cutting 18 months off the original construction timetable.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

I am determined to cut the time it takes to upgrade our roads in half by dismantling procedures that have slowed us down.

Together these schemes will increase capacity for millions of road users by 72 miles. My ambition is that in future all major road schemes will be accelerated, tackling congestion more quickly and boosting the economy.

In a keynote speech to the CBI yesterday, the PM announced that “it’s our ambition to cut the time it takes to upgrade our roads in half”.

The Department for Transport and the Highways Agency has looked hard at how to speed up the decision making process and the time it takes to have roads ready for use by motorists.

It is estimated that 1km of managed motorway (using the hard shoulder as extra lanes and variable speed limits) can be built every 2 weeks, instead of every 4.

It is expected more complex, traditional capacity improvements on non motorway routes, such as the A160/A180 Immingham improvements, will be delivered up to 25% quicker/a quarter more quickly.

This commitment to faster delivery means this government will bring forward £75 million of investment forward into this spending review.

Notes to editors

There are 4 schemes in the programme where this new approach to road upgrades will be piloted, these are:

  • Surrey, M3 J2 to 4a managed motorway
  • the West Midlands, M6 J10a to 13 managed motorway
  • Derbyshire, M1 J28 to 31 managed motorway
  • A160/A180 Immingham dualling scheme - improving access to the port of Immingham

Surrey, M3 J2 to 4a managed motorway

Work on this scheme, which was added to the roads programme last autumn, is expected to start 2013 to 2014 and be completed by spring 2015 rather than during 2016. The start of work is subject to the completion of necessary statutory processes.

The latest cost-range estimate for the project is £159 million (minimum) to £223 million (maximum).

This project is located on 13.4 miles of the M3 Motorway between Junction 12 of the M25 (M3 J2) to the A327 (M3 J4a) in Surrey.

Extra capacity will come through converting the hard shoulder to a traffic lane – with variable speed limits helping to reduce congestion and smooth traffic flows.

This will provide more reliable journeys from London and Heathrow to Solent ports – important for both leisure and business commuters.

West Midlands, M6 J10a to 13 managed motorway

Work on this scheme, which was added to the roads programme last autumn is expected to start 2013 to 2014 instead of 2014 to 2015 and be completed by spring 2015 instead of during the next financial year – 2015 to 2016. The start of work is subject to the completion of necessary statutory processes.

The latest cost-range estimate for the project is £140 million (minimum) to £201 million (maximum).

The project is located on a 9.6 mile stretch of the M6 between junctions 10a and 13, to the north west of Birmingham.

Extra capacity will come through converting the hard shoulder to a traffic lane – with variable speed limits helping to reduce congestion and smooth traffic flows.

It will support the economic development in and around the M6 by increasing business efficiency and improving reliability for business travellers, freight and logistics operations.

Derbyshire, M1 J28 to 31 managed motorway

Work on this scheme, is expected to start 2013 to 2014 and be completed by spring 2015 instead of during the next financial year – 2015/16. The start of work is subject to the completion of necessary statutory processes.

This project will add extra capacity on the M1 near Sheffield, between junctions 28 and J31 (18.9 miles), which is the primary strategic link between Nottingham and Sheffield.

Extra capacity will come through converting the hard shoulder to a traffic lane – with variable speed limits helping to reduce congestion and smooth traffic flows.

The capacity improvement will support the economic development in the 7th and 8th largest urban areas in the United Kingdom by increasing business efficiency.

Immingham A160 and A180

Work on this scheme is expected to start in summer 2015 instead of during 2016 and complete by autumn 2016 instead of during 2018 - this is subject to the successful completion of statutory processes, and the construction budget being agreed (for the next spending review period).

Out of an original 5 and a half year programme, our ambition is to cut 18 months off the completion date.

The latest cost-range estimate for the project is £89 million (minimum) to £132 million (maximum).

We are proposing to improve the A160/A180 by upgrading it to a dual carriageway and improve access to the port of Immingham. The A160 is approximately three miles long and has sections of both single carriageway and dual carriageway.

Currently, the A160 carries around 13,000 vehicles per day, including approximately 5,700 heavy goods vehicles (44%) with road users experiencing severe congestion at times, particularly along the single carriageway sections.

Road schemes can be delivered more quickly by:

  • undertaking concurrent planning, design and construction preparation activities
  • taking more work off-site and bringing to site as pre-fabricated/pre-assembled units
  • moving toward a 24 hour operation with more people on site working on multiple phases at once

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