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Autumn Statement 2014: Investment in British road system to create “smart motorways”

2 min read

03 December 2014

Former editor

A £15bn infrastructure commitment has been unveiled by chancellor George Osborne in an effort to alleviate congestion and create new “jobs and opportunities”.

The government claims that 90 per cent of journeys are made on British roads, meaning that investment is needed to increase their capacity and condition.

The £15bn plan, unveiled as part of the 2014 Autumn Statement, will run over the next ten years and will involve 100 new road scheme during this parliament – of which 84 will be brand new. Contained within the details are plans to form “smart motorways”, those using technology to manage congestion. 

“Boosting connectivity” between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Yorkshire, “smart motorways” are hoped to feature more on the UK road network in coming years and will receive £1.5bn.

One of the most high profile new projects will be a tunnel at British tourist landmark Stonehenge, allows users to drive on a dual carriageway from London to within 15 miles of Land’s End. 

Osborne said: “For years our roads have been neglected. Now that this government is fixing the economy, we can afford to invest properly in our roads – unlocking jobs for the future and local growth by creating a road network that is fit for the 21st century.”

Further details of the government’s plans also reveals that the Highways Agency will be turned into a government-run company, saving the taxpayer a reported £2.6bn over the next decade.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that better roads will allow the public to travel freely, “creating jobs and opportunities”. He added: “Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment.”

Danny Alexander, chair of the cabinet infrastructure committee and chief secretary to the treasury, believes that projects such as the tunnel at Stonehenge will “unleash the economic potential” of the regions and the overall economy.

More details on the “Road investment strategy” can be found on the Department for Transport website.