A five year Strategic Business Plan for England’s motorways and major A roads has been published in which Highways England – the government owned company that will replace the Highways Agency on 1 April 2015 – has committed to the government’s £15Bn Road Investment Strategy.
Highways England is expected to deliver over 100 new road schemes between now and the end of the next Parliament and several hundred new jobs for specialists like transport planners and engineers will be created as well as over 6000 construction jobs along the supply chain.
Highways England’s business plan focuses on modernising, maintaining and operating the network. It makes specific commitments including to build 400 miles of extra capacity by creating a ‘spine’ of Smart Motorways and to introduce a new ‘expressways’ standard for A roads. It also commits to substantial resurfacing of the strategic road network.
Publication of the plan follows the second reading of the Infrastructure Bill in Parliament this week. The bill will provide the legal framework for Government’s Road Investment Strategy and for the major reforms to the Highways Agency.
The £15Bn Road Investment Strategy, announced by Government earlier this month ahead of the Autumn Statement, included plans for 84 new road projects across England.
Work on these projects will be carried out by Highway England and create around 6200 construction jobs.
Projects announced as part of the Strategy include a £2Bn scheme to dual the A303 and A358 to the south west, with a tunnel at Stonehenge; a £290M scheme to complete the dualling of the A1; and £350M of improvements to the A27 in the South East.
Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton said: “Our Strategic Business Plan makes it clear that in order to deliver investment of this scale we need to work smarter, build strong relationships and provide a really good service for our customers. This will allow us to provide a network that offers better journeys on better roads enabling growth across the country.”
A detailed delivery plan is due for publication before Highways England starts operating in April 2015, which will set out how the Strategic Business Plan is being produced.