Press release

Details of £2 billion roads plan for the East of England

Highways England is meeting with suppliers and stakeholders today (29 September 2015) and on Thursday (1 October 2015) to set out how more than £2 billion of government investment to improve the capacity and condition of roads across the East of England will be delivered.

The investment will see improvements and repairs taking place between now and 2021, giving road users simpler, faster and more reliable journeys. It will also boost the area’s economy and help to bring the country closer together.

The work is part of the government’s ‘Road Investment Strategy’ to triple levels of spending on England’s roads by the end of the decade, which was announced last year.

Highways England, the government-owned company which was set up earlier this year, is detailing its plans for the East of England region at two events at Wyboston Lakes, Bedford and the Grange Hotel, Bury St Edmunds this week. Plans include major improvements on the M11, A5 and M1, A1(M), A12, A14, A47 and A428.

Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:

As part of our long term economic plan, we are making the biggest investment in roads in a generation. The £2 billion investment in the East of England between 2015 and 2021 will significantly improve journeys and help create jobs.

Through schemes like these we are creating opportunities for hardworking people across the nation and driving economic growth.

Ken Simmonds, Highways England’s Director of Major Projects in the South and East, added:

These improvements will bring significant long term benefits to road users on motorways and major A roads in the East of England, as well as to local residents and the economy as a whole. They will create vital links at local, regional and national level to unlock growth, increase capacity and tackle congestion.

We’ll look to deliver these schemes with local communities in mind, using designated funds where relevant to address environmental issues and air quality.

The construction work will, of course, bring some disruption in the short term but we will ensure that we keep this to a minimum to keep traffic flowing.

When the schemes are completed, road users will experience safer, more reliable and less congested journeys.

Some of the schemes such as the A5-M1 Link Dunstable Northern Bypass in Bedfordshire are already under way. This scheme involves the building of a new link between 2 major roads north of Dunstable, helping reduce congestion and boost economic growth.

Schemes due to start in the region by 2019/20 include:

  • A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon major improvements in Cambridgeshire – this scheme, subject to statutory processes, will involve building a new bypass to the south of Huntingdon and widening some of the existing carriageway near Cambridge, as well as the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury.
  • upgrading 6 sections of the A47/A12 corridor in Norfolk across a 115 mile section of the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth. This will include converting almost 8 miles of single carriageway to dual carriageway and making improvements to 3 junctions, relieving congestion and increasing journey time reliability
  • increasing capacity on the A1(M) providing an additional 14 lane miles to relieve congestion in Hertfordshire, including Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City
  • upgrading technology at junctions on the M11 across Essex and Cambridgeshire, from Stansted Airport to Cambridge, which will improve safety, relieve congestion and support plans for additional housing. We will also improve junction 7 for Harlow to increase capacity
  • providing technology along the A12 in Essex and Suffolk from the M25 to Ipswich and widening the stretch between Chelmsford and the A120 to 3 lanes, adding 30 miles of additional lane capacity, improving safety, reducing congestion and supporting economic growth
  • providing a new 13 mile stretch of dual carriageway on the A428 between western Cambridgeshire and the north east of Bedfordshire, relieving congestion, improving safety and supporting significant levels of planned economic growth in the area
  • building 17 new cycle paths across our region including along parts of the A12, A47, A120 and A5.

Highways England East Divisional Director Catherine Brookes, added:

It’s vital that we continue to improve the existing road network which is why we’re also investing millions of pounds on resurfacing, safety barriers and other maintenance projects across the whole Eastern region.

We’ll be spending more than £81 million this year alone on maintenance and smaller scale improvement schemes. Motorways and trunk roads form the backbone of the region’s economy and this huge investment will ensure they remain healthy for many years to come, as well as improve safety and journey reliability.

And because our roads aren’t just about cars and lorries, we’re also investing £4 million in the East to improve facilities for cyclists.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.