The Highways Agency has confirmed that intends to start work on just four major schemes in the next financial year, the first year to feel the full force of the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review cuts.
It will spend just £1.0bn on capital schemes in 2012/13, a significant drop on the £1.3bn spent in the current financial year. Spending will pick up slightly in 2013/14 to £1.2bn and increase again in 2014/15 to £1.6bn. The plans were confirmed in its annual business plan, published today.
It says that subject to statutory processes it plans to start work on four major road schemes in 2012/13: the M6 J5 to J8 Managed Motorway scheme; dualling of the A11 between Fiveways and Thetford in Norfolk; the M1 J32 to 35A Managed Motorway scheme; and widening of the A453 in Nottinghamshire. It says it is also “taking forward” investment on the A14. This is likely to involve small scale junction improvements.
Spending on maintenance will also crash to £291M from £417M this year. This will fall further to £255M in 2013/14 before picking up slightly to £265M in 2014/15. The Agency has begun rolling out its new Asset Support Contract which has been designed with cost cutting firmly in mind.
“This year is the first in which the reduction in the Agency’s budget, set out in the Government’s spending review in 2010, takes effect. Over the last 18 months we have been working to reduce the cost of operating, maintaining and improving England’s motorway and trunk road network. We have new ways of working, new specifications, and new contracts in place - all of which mean that we are ready to meet this efficiency challenge,” said Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton.