Saturday, 28 March 2015

£15bn plan to turn Britain's busiest A-roads into mini motorways

As part of a £15billion overhaul of the nation’s highways motorists will get new ‘mini-motorways’ 

On busy A-roads roundabouts and traffic lights will be stripped out – to cut delays and transform them into ‘mile-a-minute expressways’.

Details, included in a strategy by the Highways Agency presented to Parliament, also include new slip roads to make the roads flow and banning slow moving vehicles such as tractors and bicycles.

There are up to 18 A-roads that are likely to be transformed in the first tranche with seven more to follow. The strategy document says: ‘Our ambition for the next 25 years is to revolutionise our roads.

’Our busiest A-Roads will become expressways, providing improved standards of performance, with technology to manage traffic and mile-a-minute speeds.

‘Users of motorways know they can expect a broadly consistent standard from the whole of their road, and that this ensures they have a safe, free-moving journey.’
But it notes: ‘The same is not true of A-roads, where piecemeal upgrades have often resulted in inconsistency and substandard stretches of the road that are often less safe and a regular cause of congestion.

‘By 2040, we want to have transformed the most important of these routes into expressways: A-roads that can be relied upon to be as well-designed as motorways and which are able to offer the same standard of journey to users.’

These will be ‘largely or entirely dual carriageway roads’ that are ‘safe, well-built and resilient to delay.

They will be built so that ‘traffic on the main road can pass over or under roundabouts without stopping’.

The strategy document seen by the Daily Mail says: ‘An expressway will be able to provide a high-quality journey to its users.

‘Most expressways should be able to offer mile a minute journeys throughout the day, particularly outside of urban areas.’

The Highways Agency has presented the Road Investment Strategy to Parliament ahead of it being transformed on April 1 into the new private sector roads operator called Highways England.



The first group of nine expressways is expected to include the A303 and A30 from the junction with the M3 in Hampshire to Exeter.

The A1 north of Newcastle, which motorists have long campaigned to be made into a motorway, is another, as is the A14 from Huntingdon to Cambridgeshire.
These will also link with up to 400 miles of ‘smart motorways’ where hard shoulders are used at peak times to reduce jams.

A dual carriageway is planned for ‘the entire A303 from the M3 to the M5 at Taunton’, as well as building a tunnel as the road passes Stonehenge.
There will also be a new bypass on the A27 at Arundel together with improvements at Worthing and Lancing in West Sussex.

Also featuring will be construction of the Mottram Moor link road together with overtaking and safety improvements and duelling the A61 to improve Trans-Pennine connectivity.

A range of duelling and junction improvement schemes on the A47/A12 corridor supporting growth at Peterborough, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft is also planned.

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