Government spending on roads next year will double from this year’s depressed level and support over 9,500 construction jobs, says Transport Minister Robert Goodwill.
There will be £4.3Bn invested in 209 schemes in the roads programme, with some £1.9Bn spent in 2014 alone. All the schemes are to either start or be completed in 2014 and are expected to boost the economy by over £18.8Bn thanks to multiplier effects, and are part of a £100Bn investment package across the UK’s infrastructure over the years to 2020.
An even larger programme of road investment is promised for 2015, and spending is to rise to £3Bn a year by 2020.
Mr Goodwill said the programme is the biggest in UK infrastructure since the 1970’s, when the motorway building boom was under way. The roads programme is to help create a high performance network that can cope with expected increases in road traffic of 43% by 2040.
He said that the government’s commitment of £28Bn of investment as part of the 2013 Spending Review will deliver massive extra capacity to the busiest motorways, along with 52 major road projects funded and delivered between this parliament and 2020/2021.
Road investment has been falling steeply recently, with a fall of some 41% last year expected to be followed by as much as an 18% fall this year. Mr Goodwill said however that the eight schemes that were under construction at the 2010 Spending Review have been delivered ahead of schedule, adding 190 lane miles to the motorway network.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association Director of External Affairs Alasdair Reisner welcomed the news but said that research had shown that even more jobs would be created by the investment, with every 1,000 jobs created in construction generates another 3,000 in the wider economy.