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02/03/2020

Government invests in rail and road improvements

Rail line / Shutterstock_88160386

The government has announced fresh investment for the delivery of rail and road improvements across the UK.

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris announced a £20 million investment in the third round of the New Stations Fund to build new railway stations nationwide. 

The £20 million injection follows the launch of the £500 million Reversing Beeching Fund in January, which would bring back rail connections needed to level up access to opportunity, rescinding the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

The cuts, which were proposed by British Rail chief Dr Richard Beeching, ended passenger services on around a third of the rail network, closing more than 2,300 stations and removing up to 5,000 miles of track across the UK. 

Passengers in Wales, Derbyshire, Exeter, Warrington and Warwickshire have benefited from the new stations fund, and more new stations will be built in Durham, Reading and Bristol.

Local authorities will be able to bid for funding – communities across the UK will be encouraged to apply.

Heaton-Harris said: “This new funding will both restore local stations to their former glory, and build even more new ones, establishing vital links for communities and levelling up the country for everyone.”

The £20 million funding comes from the third round of the New Stations Fund.

£93m funding to improve roads 

Thirty-two local authorities have been awarded a share of £93.4 million to repair roads and bridges said roads minister Baroness Vere. 

The money can be used for essential repair works, ‘levelling up’ infrastructure, reducing congestion, improving road conditions and making journeys easier, according to the government. 

This includes over £4 million for repairs to the New Elvet Bridge in Durham, along with £3.7 million to help to refurbish several steel bridges in Northumberland.

The government will also fund £900,000 into tech research projects to create a better transport system.

One project to receive funding will see the development of an AI-powered app to detect potholes in real time, using mobile phone sensors to measure when cyclists ride over or swerve to avoid them. It is hoped that the app will help local authorities to quickly identify when potholes are forming and take quicker action to fill them.

A second project called Shape-Pot will create 3D pothole models to create a fully autonomous repair platform capable of automatic, uniform repairs to accelerate the transport network of the future.

Baroness Vere said: “This investment will not only help local areas to target current pinch points on their roads, but will also harness our world-leading research and innovation capabilities to future-proof the next generation of journeys.”

Image credit | Shutterstock

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