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01/04/2019

Road investment priorities outlined for the Midlands

Words: Laura Edgar
Midlands / iStock-594479180

Midlands Connect has published a ‘wholly reasonable’ list of 20 road projects that it wants to see prioritised for development by the government.

The sub-national transport body wants to see £25 billion invested in the region over the next five years: the money would come from the second round of funding from Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy period. The second round of funding runs from 2020 to 2025.

Also, clarity is being sought on schemes committed to but not completed during the first round of funding – 2015 to 2020 – including planned investment on the M6, M42, A5, A46 and A500.

Midlands Connect would like to see new schemes to benefit focus on supporting job creation; new homes; and providing a “resilient” alternative to the motorway network.

The document outlines several objectives for the second round of roads funding, including:

  • Completion of 10 regional projects that will be under way by 2020 and must be completed by 2025, such as supporting Telford & Wrekin Council to press for the earliest possible construction of the M54 to M6 Link Road, planned junction upgrades to the A38 near Derby, and the proposed widening of the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Midlands Connect wants a commitment to deliver four projects in round two that were developed in round one. This includes the A50 Uttoxeter Project B: Eastern Junction, to complement improvements to the west of the town; and the A46 Newark Northern Bypass, which aims to remove a major bottleneck and support housing and employment sites.
  • Midlands Connect has outlined how it wants to work with Highways England to prioritise five new schemes that it says could have an immediate positive impact on the regional and national economies, such as the A49 Hereford Bypass; A5 upgrades between the M42 and M69; and the J15-16 Smart Motorway on the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent.

Simon Statham, director of technical programmes at Midlands Connect, said the priorities would enable the Midlands to make the most of record investment in its roads and future-proof them.

"Midlands Connect already has a close relationship with Highways England and the Department for Transport, but strengthening our collaboration further can ensure investment is targeted in the right place, at the right time and for the right reasons.

“An investment in the Midlands benefits the nation. A third of all road freight travels through, to or from the region, so it’s important that these ambitious yet deliverable schemes for the Midlands are prioritised alongside larger, more complex projects elsewhere, like the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.”

Image credit | iStock

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