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Road construction boom now 'virtually certain' to go ahead

ROAD SCHEMES being considered under the Government's multi-modal studies are now 'virtually certain' after publication of the 10 Year Transport Plan, transport planning experts claimed this week.

Traffic modelling in the plan shows that 30 trunk road bypasses and 70 local bypasses are needed to achieve a 6% cut in traffic congestion by 2010. This, it was claimed, made the schemes included in the studies (see list) a formality.

AA policy director John Dawson said of the regional studies, which consider how best to cut congestion through an integrated approach: 'From the strategic analysis in the plan, about 80% of the road improvements in these studies will be built. It's inconceivable that most of these schemes won't get done now.'

Director of transport consultant MVA Denvil Coombe added: 'It seems sensible to assume now that some form of road scheme will be built from each of these studies. The studies will determine the scale or nature of the scheme.'

The plan's background analysis document shows that the trunk road bypasses would cut congestion on inter-urban routes by 13% and increase CO 2emissions by just 0.1%. Coombe added: 'The policy has veered towards road building. There is minimal provision for road charging to cut congestion in this plan.'

But Highways Agency's head of 10 Year Transport Plan Keith Miller hit back at claims of a newly confirmed roads programme.

'There is still uncertainty over which schemes will go ahead from multi-modal studies and regional planning conferences, ' he said. 'The actual amount built could be more or less than the amount provided for in the plan.

There are road schemes in areas of the network not covered by the multi-modal studies which the Agency could continue to bring forward.'

Ministers are said to have argued bitterly over whether a target figure of bypasses should have been included in the plan.

Transport 2000 director Stephen Joseph is furious that the 100 bypasses target was included.

Joseph told NCE he had already written to Transport Minister Lord McDonald this week demanding to know why the Transport White Paper policy of considering road schemes as a 'last option' had been 'reversed'.

He explained: 'This plan undermines the Transport White Paper because it is now going to be completely impossible to persuade councils to consider road building as a last option. They now know the money is there which will be a massive incentive for them to bid for bypasses.'

Where the money will be spent

Confirmed and probable road schemes

Road widening: 576km = £3.24bn-£7.56bn (see congestion map)

M1 (inc junctions 31-34) M6 between Birmingham and Manchester M25 M42 between M40 and M6 M60 junctions 10-18 M62 between Manchester and Leeds (junctions 26-29) A1(M) A1 west of Newcastle Strategic routes under consideration (including up to 30 bypasses costed at £5.7bn) EastA14 Cambridge to Huntingdon - 25km of widening or upgrading to motorway standard A1 - 40km of widening or upgrading to motorway standard A13 - 30km of widening A120 - dualling of A120 between Stansted and Harwich Cambridge to Norwich (M11 - A11) Norwich to Great Yarmouth East Midlands

M1 junction 19 (provision of additional connecting roads between A14 and M1 (South) A453 (M1 - Nottingham) North-south movement study Nottingham to West Midlands West Midlands

A5 Shrewsbury to the Welsh border M40/A46 Longbridge Road West Midlands (to North West) area study North East

A1 Bramham to Barton (including upgrading to motorway standard) A1 Newcastle to Scottish Border Yorkshire Dales, Aire Valley, Leeds to the Lake District (A65) A66 Penrith to Scotch Corner (A1) South and West Yorkshire Motorway box area study Tyneside area study Hull Corridor area study North West

A550 between M56 and Welsh Border A483 south of Chester to Welsh border South East Manchester area study South

South Kent (Channel Tunnel) to Devon (via Portsmouth) - A259, A27 and A35 London to South West (A303) London to South Wales Salisbury bypass South East

A3 Hindhead A23/M23 Gatwick area study Hastings bypass London to Ipswich London to Reading London to South Midlands South West

Bristol to Southampton/ Weymouth A419 Blunsdon Hereford bypass 70 Local bypasses* = £10.5bn (possibly including)

Ashby stage 2* Arundel Baldock* Barnsley Coalfields Link Road* Bedford Western* Broome and Ellingham* Burntwood* A167 Chilton A142 Fordham* A131 Great Leighs* Hemsworth - A1 Link Road (Wakefield) A53 Hodnet* East Leeds Link Road A197 Morpeth Northern Bypass A507 Ridgmont and Woburn Link* Scarborough-Lebbertson Diversion* Selmeston Stoke Hammond and Linslade Western* Stowmarket B1115 Relief Road Sunderland Southern Relief Road A688 Wheatley Hill to Bowburn Link Wilmington *confirmed as going ahead in December 1999

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