Motorists promised over 900 extra lane miles

27th August 2014

Operation Stack 'a misery for Kent motorists'

Motorists in England will be able to enjoy an extra 962 miles of lane capacity by 2021 compared with ten years before, the Department of Transport has said.

Outlining new road building plans, the department stated that this increase was a third more than the 2001-2010 period, when 574 lane miles were constructed. This will be made possible by a £24 billion investment in more than 60 road schemes, the highest since the 1970s.

It will lead to a trebling of the annual budget for enhancements to motorways and A roads, including an extra £9 billion of maintenance. £6 billion of this will be used for resurfacing work.

The government has also stated that this should not lead to an adverse impact on the environment, as smart motorways and selective road widening should minimise the impact.

A number of new schemes are set to be added to those listed in the autumn statement. These may include six locations being looked at as part of feasibility studies into ways of dealing with the worst bottlenecks, examples of which include the A303 between Hampshire and Devon and the A47, which runs across the east of England to Great Yarmouth.

Commenting on the plans, roads minister John Hayes said: "As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to secure a brighter future for Britain, we are fixing problems that have been created by governments of the past by delivering around 35 per cent more capacity on our roads than was delivered in the nine years up to 2010."  

The issue of increased road capacity has been a hot political topic at a time when environmentalists want to see less new building, drivers and businesses want to be able to get around more easily and competition for finite transport budgets has arisen from the growing demand for rail and major projects such as Crossrail and HS2.

However, the government has made a number of notable announcements of new road developments in recent months, including a new A45 bridge in Solihull to help improve road links around the West Midlands metropolitan area.