Headlines: April 2nd, 2003

The Government is stepping up its commitment to schemes designed to improve road safety and reduce road noise with the announcement of a programme of road schemes. The works will focus on some of the most congested points of the national trunk road network but have been designed to provide local solutions to deal with the problems.The schemes outlined by the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, include for the first time a timetable for the removal of all 74 stretches of concrete surface on the motorway and trunk road network. The first phase will see the resurfacing of 26 stretches at a cost of 77 million pounds. It is estimated that more than 11,500 householders across the country will benefit from reduced traffic noise from this phase alone.

Mr. Darling also announced that the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge would be made into a dual three-lane carriageway in a 490 million pound project to improve safety and reduce congestion. It is claimed that this will cut journey times and bring real benefits to motorists and local communities.

In all the programme will see 755 million pounds worth of improvement works. Other schemes involve a by-pass for the villages of Mottram in Longdendale, Hollingworth and Tintwistle on the A57/A628, major improvements in Coventry and work on the Shrewsbury to Chester Road with Shropshire County Council taking responsibility for associated improvements to public transport.

Elsewhere further preparatory work on plans for the M40/A46 roundabout and junctions along the A38 in Derby will be carried out before they can be approved and the upgrade to motorway standard of the A556 between the M6 and M56 has been turned down on environmental grounds. Improvements to junction 20 of the M6 have also have been rejected.

Mr. Darling said,” We remain committed to tackling congestion and reducing the number of accidents on our roads. This package will deliver those benefits and provide welcome relief from heavy traffic for communities who live near busy roads.”