Press release

Major roads investment in the east of England

The east of England gets a £1.5 billion investment in its roads as part of the new 'Road investment strategy'.

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

Major road

An ambitious £15 billion plan to triple levels of spending by the end of the decade to increase the capacity and condition of England’s roads, was announced to Parliament today (1 December 2014) by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

The east of England will benefit from 15 new schemes worth around £1.5 billion, creating an estimated 1,000 construction jobs.

Patrick McLoughlin said:

Today I am setting out the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades. It will dramatically improve the network and unlock Britain’s economic potential.

Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment.

This government has a long term plan to secure the country’s future and this £15 billion roads programme is demonstration of that. It will directly benefit hardworking families across the east of England.

This is the biggest investment in roads in a generation and will update major corridors in the east of England, including the A14, A12, A1(M) and M11.

A radical overhaul began in 2010 with the following major improvements in the area:

  • delivery of a £1.5 billion, 21 mile improvement to the A14 between Cambridge to Huntingdon
  • the completion earlier this year of the last stage of dualling the A11 to Norwich, finishing England’s newest expressway and providing the first-ever dual carriageway link to Norfolk

Chair of the Cabinet Infrastructure Committee and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said:

World class infrastructure is vital if we are to build a stronger economy, but it matters in other ways too. It invigorates communities and gives people more opportunities to get on in life. This is why I have ensured that this government has prioritised funding roads, and railways, at a high level for future generations.

For decades our roads have suffered from under investment, so I’m particularly delighted to be able to announce this expansive range of new road schemes today. Investment on this scale is only possible because we have taken the difficult decisions needed to control our public finances and stuck to our recovery plan which is now delivering strong growth and record numbers of jobs.

These projects, like the scheme on the A14 in Cambridge, will help unleash the economic potential of both the regions they serve and of the overall economy.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, said:

I promised when I was in the east of England that we would address this area’s economic needs for the future.

Our Long term-economic plan means today we can invest £1.5 billion into the region’s infrastructure to improve, repair and expand our roads.

Our plans will transform some of the country’s most important strategic routes. Having recently visited the area around Norwich, I am sure our ambitious project to transform the A47 as well as spending on important local infrastructure will boost productivity and help the local economy of the east of England.

For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.

Spending during the next parliament on the local and national roads network across the east of England will be boosted further by maintenance funding worth £1.5 billion.

Highlights of today’s announcement are:

  • dualling of the A428 to create a continuous ‘expressway’ from Cambridge to Bedford and Milton Keynes, helping some of our fastest-growing towns and cities to work together - new strategic study will look at the case for extending this expressway from Milton Keynes to Oxford
  • investing over £300 million to transform the A47 around Peterborough, Norwich and Great Yarmouth; this includes dualling the road from Peterborough to the A1, upgrades around Norwich to create a 30 mile stretch of continuous dual carriageway and improvements to the Acle Straight and junctions around Norwich - this will tackle congestion and help share the benefits of growth in key cities
  • begin phase 1 of a major upgrade to the A12, with the addition of a third lane between Chelmsford and Colchester, rebuilding of the A12/M25 junction and technology improvements along the whole route - this will replace a patchwork road with consistent modern standards, and will tackle congestion on one of the region’s vital corridors
  • opening a new chapter in the history of the A1, with an upgrade to the 2-lane section of the A1(M) around Stevenage, and improvements to the notorious Black Cat roundabout on the A1 - a strategic study will examine the future of the A1 between Peterborough and the M25, including whether to upgrade the old dual carriageway section to motorway standard
  • a link road from the A5 to the M1 near Dunstable, including a new junction 11A, which will allow for 7,000 new homes at Houghton Regis
  • at Harlow on the M11, £50 million of extra improvements to junction 7 will make development easier and provide quicker access to and from the town

Detail of the east of England road schemes

East of England road investment infographics and images.

Scheme name Scheme description Announced
A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon A14 junction 20 (Ellington) to junction 33 (Milton): major upgrade between the A1 and A10 at Milton, widening to dual 3 lanes, creating a bypass for Huntingdon and new distributor roads for local traffic and remodelling key junctions. 2013
A5-M1 link road New junction 11A on the M1 near Luton/Dunstable, plus a new road to link to the nearby A5. This effectively acts as a bypass for Dunstable, where the A5 currently goes through the town centre. The scheme supports a large housing development at Houghton Regis. 2010
A47 North Tuddenham to Easton A47 North Tuddenham to Easton: dualling to provide continuous dual carriageway between Norwich and Dereham; combined with the Blofield to North Burlingham scheme, this will provide full dualling between Dereham and Acle. Autumn Statement 2014
A47 Blofield to North Burlingham dualling A47 Blofield to North Burlingham: dualling to complete a gap in the dual carriageway between Norwich and Acle; combined with the North Tuddenham to Easton scheme this will provide full dualling between Dereham and Acle. Autumn Statement 2014
A47 and A12 junction enhancements A47/A12 Great Yarmouth: junction improvements, including reconstruction of the Vauxhall roundabout. Autumn Statement 2014
A47 Acle Straight Safety improvements at key hotspots and joint working with Natural England to establish environmental impacts and mitigation measures for the medium and long term which could include installation of safety barriers, junction improvements and road widening or capacity improvements. Autumn Statement 2014
A47/A11 Thickthorn junction A47/A11 Thickthorn junction: improvement of the interchange to give improved access to Norwich. Autumn Statement 2014
A47 Guyhirn junction A47: Guyhirn: creation of a new larger junction linking the A47 with the A141. Autumn Statement 2014
A47 Wansford to Sutton A47 Wansford to Sutton: dualling the A47 between the A1 and Peterborough. Autumn Statement 2014
A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet A428: dualling of remaining single carriageway section between Caxton Gibbet west of Cambridge and the M1, including a grade separated junction at the A1 Black Cat roundabout. Autumn Statement 2014
M11 junctions 8 to 14 - technology upgrade M11: junction 8 (Stansted Airport) to junction 14 (Cambridge - Girton Interchange): technology improvements, including emergency roadside telephones, signals on slip roads, Motorway Incident detection and automatic signalling, variable message signs, CCTV cameras and gantries; work to take place in 3 phases. Autumn Statement 2014
A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening A12: junction 19 (Chelmsford north) to junction 25 (A120 interchange): widening to provide 3 lanes between Chelmsford and Colchester. Autumn Statement 2014
A12 whole-route technology upgrade A12: M25 junction 28 and Ipswich: traffic management technology improvements along the whole route, including detection loops, CCTV cameras and variable message signs to allow better information to drivers and active traffic management of traffic on the route. Autumn Statement 2014
A1(M) junctions 6 to 8 smart motorway A1(M): junction 6 (Welwyn north) to junction 8 (Hitchin): upgrading to smart motorway including widening of 2 lane section to dual 3 lane and hard shoulder running. Autumn Statement 2014
M11 junction 7 junction upgrade Extra capacity on junction 7 near Harlow through significant upgrades and more technology. Autumn Statement 2014
A12 Colchester bypass widening Widening the Colchester bypass to 3 lanes, with attendant junction improvements. Autumn Statement 2014
A12 M25 to Chelmsford Raising section from the M25 to Chelmsford to 3 lane capacity, dealing with major congestion problems and inconsistent standards. Autumn Statement 2014
A11 Fiveways Dualling of the final section of the A11 to Norwich between Fiveways and Thetford. Scheme opening in 2014. 2010
Oxford to Cambridge expressway study Study of the potential to link Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, making use of existing roads where possible and considering the case for filling missing links. Autumn Statement 2014
A1 east of England feasibility study Study of how to improve the safety and performance of the A1 between Peterborough and the M25, including the possibility of upgrading the road to motorway standard. Autumn Statement 2014

Roads media enquiries

Published 1 December 2014