Forwarders give cautious welcome to Government’s road infrastructure plans

Forwarders give cautious welcome to Government’s road infrastructure plans

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has given a cautious welcome to the news that the Government has confirmed a commitment made by the previous administration to invest more than £25 billion in England’s road transport infrastructure.

The Government has pledged more than £100 million in a 'first wave' of  investment for four schemes, which have been approved for construction. These include the Preston western distributor scheme, which will provide a new dual carriageway to reduce congestion in the city, and the 3.5km Stubbington bypass.

Seven other schemes will be awarded funding to develop their business cases. These include the A140 Long Stratton Bypass, which will divert traffic away from busier routes around Norwich, helping reduce traffic through local routes and the A511 growth corridor which will see a series of improvements to improve access to jobs and services in Leicestershire.

A further seven schemes have been given approval to proceed and to apply for funding at a later stage. 

BIFA Director General, Robert Keen, said: “We have regularly said that there has been too little investment in the UK road infrastructure network over many years. 

“This lack of spending has caused the country’s network of A roads and motorways to become congested, undermining the UK’s competitiveness in comparison to its international peers.

“BIFA has said repeatedly that it is imperative that new road building and road reconstruction projects are not only implemented, but developed in such a way as to maximise their functionality. 

“Whilst today’s announcement does not appear to be additional funding to that announced by the previous administration, it does offer some clarity on where the funds will be spent between 2020 and 2025, with 14 of England's major roads being upgraded, including the widening of the A12, that key artery to and from the port of Felixstowe.

“That will be welcome news for BIFA members, which as freight forwarders, rely on the road network to move Britain’s visible domestic and international trade. 

“We are now hopeful that talk of infrastructure investment will cease to be just talk and we will see some spades in the ground.”

On top of the £100 million announcement, the Government confirmed there will be £25.3 billion invested in the strategic road network between 2020 and 2025. The second Road Investment Strategy, which is due to be announced later this year, will set out what this funding will deliver. Users of the A66 across the Pennines, A46 at Newark, M60 Simister Island interchange and A12 in Essex are expected to be among those to benefit from this funding.

Schemes given funding to proceed to construction:

  • £31 million for the Preston western distributor scheme: a new dual carriageway link between the M55 and the A583 
  • £25.5 million for the Stubbington bypass: a new 3.5km single carriageway.
  • £22.5 million for the White Hart junction: improving the intersection between the A419 and A420 to the east of Swindon 
  • £22.9 million for the Wichelstowe southern access scheme: construction of an access road to the Wichelstowe development site under the M4 motorway.

Schemes at strategic outline business case stage which have been awarded development funding:

  • Tyne Bridge and Central motorway renewal
  • A38 Bromsgrove route enhancement programme
  • A511 growth corridor (Leicestershire)
  • A38 – (Bristol Airport access improvement)
  • A38 Manadon interchange (Plymouth)
  • A374/A386/A3064 Plymouth MRN phase 1
  • A140 Long Stratton bypass

Schemes given approval to proceed to the next stage:

  • A1079 improvement – East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Isham bypass, Northamptonshire
  • A28 Birchington, Acol and Westgate-on-Sea relief road
  • Southampton West Quay road realignment
  • A146 Barnby bends
  • Lombard roundabout (Croydon)
  • A13 Lodge Lane (Dagenham)