OVER £70bn will need to be spent on road building over the next 30 years to meet growing traffic congestion, two eminent civil engineers claimed this week.
In a study launched at the Royal Automobile Club's Motoring Towards 2050 conference in London on Tuesday, former ICE president Sir Alan Muir Wood and Halcrow director David Bayliss said that almost 3000km of new roads and widening will be needed.
This will include 750km of new motorways and 750km of trunk roads, while 850km of motorways and 400km of trunk roads will need to be widened.
This is based on government predictions of a 46% rise in traffic between 2001 and 2031 which will lead to an extra 68bn vehicle kilometres. Better management of the existing road network could only improve capacity by 5%, says the report.
The massive programme of road building and its environmental effects would require a fifth of the new roads to be tunnelled - equivalent to a tunnel between London and Leeds - the report adds.
Around 40 short tunnels would also be needed to provide grade separation at busy junctions.
Current government spending on road building under the 10 year plan would need to be upped by 50% and then sustained until 2031 to fund the works recommended, the authors said.
INFOPLUS Find out more about the report Means to Mitigate Effects of Increasing Strategic Road Capacity in Line with Demand at www. racfoundation.