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£1.5 billion North-West roads plan revealed

Words: Laura Edgar

Highways England has announced plans to invest £1.5 billion in road in the North-West over the next five years.

The investment, unveiled at an event in Manchester today (Tuesday), includes creating 80 miles of smart motorway.

According to Highways England, there will be seven new smart motorways, with work starting by 2020. The routes are aimed at reducing congestion and improving journey times and road safety.

Two of the schemes on the M62 will link with existing projects, covering nearly 60 miles between the North-West and Yorkshire.

Other schemes are:

  • M62 between J10 at the M6 near Warrington and J12 at the M60 near Eccles;

  • M6 between J21a at the M62, Warrington and J26 at the M58 near Skelmersdale;

  • M62 between J20 at the A627(M) near Rochdale and J25 near Brighouse, West Yorkshire;

  • M60 between J24 at the M67 near Denton and J4 at the M56 near Cheadle; 

  • M6 between J16 at Crewe and J19 at Knutsford - £233 million;

  • M56 between J6 and J8 near Manchester Airport; and

  • M53 between J5 at Queensferry and J11 at the M56 near Ellesmere Port.

Alan Shepherd, North-West regional director at Highways England, said: “It’s vital that we continue to improve the existing road network as well, which is why we’re investing £90 million this year alone on resurfacing, safety barriers and other maintenance projects.

“The North-West’s motorways and dual carriageways form the backbone for the region’s economy and this huge investment will ensure they remain healthy for many years to come.”

Jeremy Bloom, Highways England’s major projects director for the North, added: “These schemes will bring significant long-term benefits to drivers on motorways and major A-roads in the North-West, as well as to the economy as a whole.”

Speaking to The Planner, a spokesperson for IPPR North said: "Investing in the North's transport infrastructure is vital for creating a prosperous economy, so this investment will be welcomed by business in the region, who see better transport links as crucial to creating a Northern powerhouse.”

The spokesperson went on to say that there is still a “massive imbalance” in infrastructure investment in the North.

“The North and the region needs to coordinate its efforts to join up its towns and cities, transport links and economic assets such as ports. We're asking businesses, planners and civic leaders to work with us and the RTPI to assess the support and scope for a Great North Plan to achieve just that."

To find out more about smart motorways, read Enter the Superhighway.