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Highways Agency to start work on six major schemes in 2009-2010 - but with tight cost controls

The Highways Agency has announced plans to start work on six major schemes in the next financial year, as well as bringing forward work valued at £400M as part of the government’s fiscal stimulus plan.

The plans are set out in its annual Business Plan for 2009-2010, published on Friday.

This financial year the Agency aims to start construction work on six major road schemes: M25 widening junctions 16 to 23 and also junctions 27to 30, hard shoulder running on the M6 junctions 8 to 10a, A14 Felixstowe to M1 traffic management technology improvements, hard shoulder running on M1 junctions 10 to 13, and also on M4 junctions 19 to 20 and M5 junctions 15 to 17.

The Agency is also bringing forward work valued at £400M as part of the government’s fiscal stimulus measures. This includes starting construction work in April on the A46 Newark to Widmerpool scheme three years ahead of the original timetable, as well as making a start on the managed motorways programme and a substantial programme of asset renewal work.

But the plan warns that the work will be delivered more efficiently through “tighter” cost management of major projects and procurement efficiencies, and that more schemes will be delivered through hard shoulder running instead of conventional widening.

“The Agency is going to be delivering more efficiently and obtaining greater results with our resources, and working closely with our suppliers. Our investment, use of technology and innovation will ensure the strategic road network is more sustainable, and supports the economy as well as the day to day commuter,” said Agency chief executive Graham Dalton.

“We now have a defined major roads programme for 2009 to 2010 and beyond, which includes rolling out the innovative hard shoulder running and active traffic management schemes on key sections of our motorway network. This, in conjunction with conventional road improvement schemes, will deliver greater benefits for managing and operating the road network, making journeys more reliable and safer.”

This year’s business plan also includes the Agency’s first carbon reduction targets, which have been set using data gathered during 2008 to 2009. Last week the Agency announced it is to begin switching off motorway lights at night in a bid to cut carbon emissions.

In 2009 to 2010 the Agency will complete the £68M A1 Bramham to Wetherby, including the Wetherby bypass, and the £84M A1 Peterborough to Blyth junction improvement scheme. It also plans to award the £5bn 30-year private finance contract to design, build, finance and operate more than 100km of the M25.

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