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Consultants prepare for 'stealthy'government road spending spree

HIGHWAY ENGINEERS are being targeted in a big recruitment drive because of a growing belief that the Government is preparing for a road building spree.

After a lean three years which saw annual road spending drop from £1.6bn to £800M, road contractors and consultants are preparing for what is widely seen as the Government's 'stealth' revival of UK road construction.

Plans for six road schemes in the Highways Agency's Targeted Programme of Improvements have already been brought forward and an extra £25M was included in last month's budget to speed up another six schemes.

Last month the Highways Agency announced that it would spend an extra £40M on road schemes next year.

Mott MacDonald divisional director for transport Clive Livingstone said it planned to enlarge its transport division by up to 15% in the short term and possibly more in future. The firm has just picked up four road-related contracts including design of the 2km cut and cover tunnel under Stonehenge.

A DETR source confirmed that further road building was likely to result from its on-going studies of multi-modal corridors.

'If the multi-modal studies recommend that road building is the best answer in certain cases, then the practical effect may be that road building gets a rather higher profile in the next few years, ' he said.

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