Dozens of towns and cities are set to benefit from government funding to tackle congested local roads and improve key points in the strategic road network, as well as new initiatives to drive forward rail electrification.
Measures announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin include £49 million from the Local Pinch Point Fund for 25 congestion-busting local roads schemes, building on 87 already announced this year; confirmation of nearly £111 million for the M6-Heysham link road, along with funding for projects to improve the M55 J1, A1, and M62 J19; and electrification of the Wigan-to-Bolton railway line. A taskforce will report to the Transport Secretary within 12 months on the acceleration of further rail electrification schemes in the North of England.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said:
Whether it’s unblocking bottlenecks on local roads, improving trouble spots on our motorways and trunk roads, or working to deliver better railways through electrification, these projects will benefit communities up and down the country and help keep Britain moving. By investing in our local and regional transport infrastructure we can help support new jobs and boost our overall competitiveness in the global economic race.
Of the 25 new local pinch point schemes, many are expected to be delivered in 2014 and 2015. Today’s (13 December 2013) announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the government’s Local Pinch Point Fund to 112. The £266 million which has been awarded to local authorities since the start of the fund will enable local transport improvements of over £511 million to go ahead. Based on the estimates received from promoting authorities, the schemes awarded funding from the fund to date have the potential to support more than 200,000 jobs and around 150,000 new homes. The fund reflects the government’s commitment to supporting economic growth by tackling barriers on the local highway network that may be restricting the movement of goods and people. The fund is aimed at schemes that can be delivered quickly with immediate impact.
The areas benefitting from the funding allocated today (13 December 2013) are:
- Bracknell Forest
- Cheshire West and Chester
- East Riding of Yorkshire Council
- North East Lincolnshire
- North Somerset
- Southend on Sea
In addition, the government is outlining further action on the following roads schemes:
The government is confirming nearly £111 million funding for the M6 – Heysham Link Road. The scheme will complete the connection from the M6 at Junction 34 to the Morecambe Bypass, improving access to the Port of Heysham and the surrounding area for local people and businesses.
A new junction on the M55 near Bartle, Preston, will be built to support the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire city deal. This development will provide relief for the heavily congested M55 J1 at Broughton and improve access to the Warton enterprise zone. Estimated to cost between £25 to 30 million, this will also help to unlock delivery of the north west Preston strategic location for housing, which will see more than 4,000 homes built in the area.
The scope of the £64 million A1 Lobley Hill to Dunston improvement scheme, announced in the Autumn Statement 2012, will be extended (subject to consideration of the business case). Easing congestion on the A1 Western Bypass, the £20 million extension scheme will provide an additional lane in both directions between Lobley Hill and the Coal House junction at the southern end of the existing scheme and from Dunston to Metro Centre junction on the southbound carriageway, giving a total continuous 3 lane section of approximately 6.4 kilometres.
Improvements will be made to the M62 J19 near Rochdale, including the installation of new traffic lights, to facilitate a new link road between the M62 J19 and the A6045. Estimated to cost £1.5 million, this will help to unlock the planned employment, retail and residential growth in the South Heywood Economic Corridor, helping to create over 2,000 jobs. Construction is expected to start in summer 2015 and last for a 2 year period.
The DfT also announced today (13 December 2013) the following measures to improve rail services:
The railway line between Wigan (North Western Station) and Bolton (Lostock Junction) will be electrified, at an estimated cost of £37 million and targeted for completion by 2017. This will enable the conversion of the busy Wigan to Manchester Victoria services and Wigan to Manchester Airport services from older Pacer diesel trains to more modern and higher capacity electric trains.
A joint taskforce will explore where next for electrification in the North. The new taskforce will be made up of experts from Network Rail and the DfT and will involve train operators, local authorities including the Rail North consortium, the supply chain and local Members of Parliament. This group will provide the Transport Secretary with an interim report within 12 months setting out how schemes can be brought forward and their development accelerated.
As part of Network Rail’s ongoing work to identify the next generation of schemes that will be electrified as part of the government’s continued rail investment, the routes to be examined will include:
- Leeds – Harrogate – York
- Selby – Hull
- Sheffield – Leeds
- Sheffield – Doncaster
- East Coast Main Line – Middlesbrough
- Sheffield – Manchester
- Warrington– Chester
- Crewe – Chester