New Chancellor Phillip Hammond is set to give a boost to the road transport industry with a £1.3bn investment to tackle congestion and upgrade road infrastructure.
The news comes ahead of his first Autumn Statement since picking up the famous red briefcase and taking on the mantle of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
When he makes his first statement on Wednesday, Hammond will announce around £1.1bn for reducing congestion and upgrading local roads and a further £220m to cut congestion on England’s motorways and major A roads.
The Strategic Road Network (SRN), comprising motorways and major ‘A’ roads, carry a third of total traffic and has been performing progressively worse over the last twelve months.
According to the latest available figures from the Department for Transport, the average delay on the SRN was 9 seconds per vehicle per mile between June 2015/16 compared with free flow – a 1.3% deterioration. Over the same period, the average speed was 59.2mph.
The Treasury estimates that road congestion costs the UK £13bn each year. Quoted on Sky News a Department for Transport source said: “We are building and improving roads because they are at the very heart of what makes communities work – linking people with jobs and businesses with customers.
“Our investment will benefit motorists by making their journeys safer, quicker and less congested – whilst creating thousands of jobs across the country.”
One of the first projects to be confirmed is a £27m expressway between Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes.
We welcome this news and the central part roads are playing in the Chancellor’s renewed emphasis on strategic infrastructure investment. I wonder what else the Autumn Statement will bring… We’ll all find out on Wednesday 23rd November.