Highways England, the body that officially replaces the Highways Agency next week, has published its first five-year plan detailing £11bn of investment.
Committed improvements over the first five years of operation include:
- 112 major improvements, including 15 smart motorway projects providing an extra 450km of capacity, and resurfacing the majority of the network
- providing a more accessible road system delivering over 150 new cycling facilities and crossings, including 40 by the end of next year, and cycle-proofing new schemes
- reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the network by 40% from the 2010 baseline
Graham Dalton, chief executive of Highways England said: “The launch of Highways England is an incredibly significant moment for those who rely on England’s motorways and major A roads.
“As well as delivering the biggest investment in major roads since the 1970s, there will be fundamental changes to the way motorways and major A roads are maintained and operated.
“We will be focussing on customers, providing better travel information before and during journeys, improving safety and reducing the impact of roadworks.
“Highways England is the organisation that will meet this challenge.
“We are committed to a strategic road network in England that is far safer, more free-flowing and more integrated and supports economic growth across the country.”
The delivery plan describes how Highways England will:
- develop a new standard for our busiest A roads known as expressways to provide a similar standard of journey expected on our motorways with improved junctions, emergency refuge bays and technology to keep traffic moving and reduce delays.
- organise improvement and maintenance work so it minimises disruption and keeps, on average, at least 97% of the road network open
- work with industry on emerging vehicle technology and cultivate a new and more mature safety culture that encourages good driver behaviour resulting in safer roads, vehicles and people.
- take a comprehensive approach to the environment: investing £225 million on flood resilience schemes, encouraging biodiversity around our roads by protecting and restoring nature areas and resurfacing that tackles noise pollution using low-noise surfacing at 1,150 locations
- trial innovative technology on our network, such as wireless power transfer to electric/hybrid vehicles, wireless internet on roads in the south east and acoustic incident detection systems to improve tunnel safety even further
For full details of the delivery plan click here