Smart Transport

Highways England to invest £27.4bn in road network by 2025

The new A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon

Highways England is planning to invest £27.4 billion in the strategic road network across the country over the next five years.

Motorways and major A-roads will get £14bn to help improve the quality, capacity and safety of the network.

Almost £11bn will also go into improving everyday journeys by repairing and replacing parts of the strategic road network which connects the country, largely built in the 1960s and 70s.

Highways England said the new investments lay the foundations for connected vehicles, digital traffic management and enabling two-way communications between roadside infrastructure and in-car devices that will revolutionise inter-modal transportation and personal and commercial mobility in the future.

Over the past five years Highways England has completed 36 major improvement schemes, including adding additional capacity on the M20 in Kent, the M6 in the Midlands and in Cheshire.

It said around 20 of the projects were opened ahead of schedule, including the recent opening of the £1.4bn project on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, which was delivered eight months early.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive (who will step down early next year), said:  “Our network is a vital part of everyone’s life. It has served the country well during the pandemic, keeping supermarket shelves stocked and enabling key workers to get where they need to be.    

“Over the next five years we will increase capacity where it is most needed and continue to upgrade more of the network which has suffered from decades of under-investment.    

“We now have a strong track record of delivering new schemes and operating the network for the benefit of our customers and the communities we serve.

"The plan we’re launching will protect and create jobs to aid the nation’s recovery, and make journeys faster and more reliable for freight and road users.”

Highways England major plans include:

  • Resurfacing nearly 5,000 lane miles of road
  • Installing or renewing more than 1,000 miles of safety barriers on motorways and dual carriageways
  • Renewing more than 170 bridges and other structures
  • Investing £300-400 million replacing ageing concrete sections on the A14, M5, M18, M20, M42, M54 and M56
  • A new road and tunnel under the Thames between Essex and Kent, adding capacity and speeding up journeys between the Channel ports and the rest of the country

  • Upgrading the A66, creating the first new Trans-Pennine dual carriageway since 1971, improving connections between ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland and those in England at Hull and Felixstowe.

  • Improving the major direct route between the South East and South West including a tunnel near the Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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