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Road plans on target

LETTERS

Road contractors and consultants claim they face a dramatic drop in work next year because the government has been too slow to push through projects under the 10 year plan (NCE 13 December 2001). They also claim that multi-modal and road-based studies are causing delays to construction.

There are no delays in delivering planned schemes in the targeted programme of improvements. We expect to take these forward in line with the 10 year plan. We awarded 13 contracts in 2000/01 and have eight going through in 2001/02. Next year, six new schemes are due to be awarded.

A further nine schemes were added to the TPI this year - the total now stands at 50, not 41 as you reported. We awarded the A500 City Road and Stoke Road junctions improvement early design and build (Pathfinder) contract in May - the first use of this form of contract.

On the day of your report, ministers announced their support for the Cambridge to Huntingdon multi-modal study.

This recommends the widening and partial realignment of the A14 to form a dual three-lane carriageway including a bypass for Huntingdon and junction and local road improvements, including parallel roads between the M1 and east of Fenstanton.

John Spellar also announced on 18 December 2001 that the Highways Agency is to undertake detailed feasibility and early preparatory work on front running road schemes emerging from the multi-modal and road-based studies. This will inform the decision making process and secure the earliest delivery of important schemes.

Richard Thorndike, corporate director, Highways Agency, 12/26 St Christopher House, Southwark Street, London SE1 0TE

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