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The Department for Transport established an agency to build and operate motorways and trunk roads in 1994. It is one of the construction industry’s biggest clients.

Since its inception in 1994 the Highways Agency’s remit has changed
slightly with the emphasis moving from building the road network to maintaining and operating it. There is a focus on customers.

The Agency operates from seven locations: Bedford, Birmingham, Bristol, Dorking, Exeter, Leeds and Manchester, with its corporate offices located close to the Department for Transport (DfT) in London. It employs approximately 3,000 people with a high proportion of staff being members of the Institutions of Civil and Structural Engineers. These staff are engineers who project manage road building and maintenance schemes.

The strengths of the Agency are its reputation for building and maintaining cost effective, quality roads and performing well on the promises it makes to its customers, the road users. Information is vital to the smooth running of the network and innovative ways of ensuring customers are kept well informed are constantly under development. The use of variable messaging signs placed on gantries above roads means that road users can be warned of congestion or told the distance and probable time before they reach the next junction.

The success of the Agency is measured by the DfT using a balanced scorecard. Measures of performance are agreed with DfT and monitored. The Agency is subject to Parliamentary scrutiny through the Transport Committee.

Major Projects is one directorate of the Highways Agency. The Highways Agency is responsible for managing England’s strategic road network, which is valued at £81bn. It carries a third of all road traffic in England and two thirds of all heavy freight traffic, providing a vital service to commerce and industry, individuals and communities.

The Highways Agency Major Projects directorate manages large road schemes costing more than £5M each. These are national and local road schemes. The four divisions within Major Projects which direct this work are South, North, Midlands & South West and M25.

In 2007, Major Projects added an additional 126 lane kilometres to the network. Of the 113 schemes in the Programme of Major Schemes (formerly the Targeted Programme of Improvements or TPI), 52 remain to be completed, 21 are under construction and a further 31 are in the options/ development phase.

In 2005 the government set the Highways Agency a target of 23 road schemes to open in the three years to April, 2008 as part of the Programme of Major Schemes. Twenty eight were achieved. Ten road schemes opened in 2007, and 15 road schemes are planned to open in 2008 as part of the Programme of Major Schemes.
More information and scheme updates can be found at

Helping you with your Journey: Highways Agency’s customer promises

We are here to help you make your journeys safely and reliably. We are aware that you all have different needs.
Roads are part of the environment. We play our part in protecting the environment and reducing the problems caused by traffic.
We will give you helpful information to enable you to make choices before and during your journey.
We will clear up incidents quickly and safely and help you continue your journey.
We will only carry out roadworks when they are important to keep you safe or to improve your future journeys.
We will constantly look for improvements in all we do, working with our partners.
We will spend taxpayers’ money wisely, looking for value for money and ways of achieving greater efficiency.
We will ensure our dealings with you are prompt, courteous and helpful.

A590 High and Low Newton bypass
The A590 trunk road links communities in South Cumbria to the M6 at Junction 36. It is wholly within the Lake District National Park. The bypass is a 3.8km dual carriageway running between Lindale Bypass and Barrow Banks. It brings significant benefits to the communities of High Newton, Low Newton and Ayside, removing over 90% of traffic, reducing accidents, removing community severance and improving the environment in the villages, restoring them to their traditional Lakeland setting. The team worked hard to reduce the environmental impact of the scheme and tried to reduce the amount of material that was needed to be brought onto the site. All of the excavated peat was kept on site and was reused in the landscaping. The team will also plant 51,000 native trees and shrubs along the length of the scheme. Planting will include 3,200 oak, 15,000 hawthorn, 7,000 birch, 300 yew and 3,000 ash trees.

A3 Hindhead improvement
The A3 Hindhead improvement is a 6.5km dual two lane bypass of Hindhead, Surrey including a 1.83km long twin bored tunnel.The route lies in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and passes under the Devil’s Punch Bowl Site of Special Scientific Interest. A one team approach won the support of all the statutory and non statutory environmental bodies through the public inquiry process. The Agency has produced a detailed website, regular newsletters and interviews on local radio and TV; a visitor centre, viewing platforms and school visits. Clearing the site took full account of all the protected species and we recycled all timber. Tunnelling started ahead of time. Traffic management has included live journey time information.
The new road:
Completes a regionally strategic dual carriageway link between London and Portsmouth
Removes a notorious bottleneck
Provides better access to local shops and schools, reducing noise and air pollution, providing an opportunity to regenerate Hindhead
Unites the Devil’s Punch Bowl SSSI by removing the existing A3 and re-contouring the land

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