Trade organisations the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) have both welcomed the government’s announcement of plans to invest £100 million to upgrade 5000 miles of A roads.
The government has released its consultation on the Major Roads Network (MRN), which proposes that 5000 miles of A roads are brought into scope for new funding from the National Roads Fund for upgrades and improvements.Upgrade schemes that could be considered are: bypasses, missing links between existing routes, road widening, major junction improvements and the use of technological and safety enhancements along stretches of the network.
Under the proposals in the consultation, each successful bid will be eligible for up to £100 million of government funding under the proposals and will help cut congestion, unlock housing and boost economic growth.
It is planned that a review of the MRN will mirror the planned investment in the strategic road network – motorways and large A roads managed by Highways England.
Under the proposals, road upgrades will be developed by councils and, where possible, sub-national transport bodies – a regional body that influences funding decisions such as Transport for the North – meaning they will be designed by the areas to deliver the best solutions for their roads.
The consultation will close on March 17.
“The prospect of investment in the transport network to improve the flow of the goods and services we all rely on is good news,” said RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett.
“Whilst major roads have often benefitted from investment, ‘A’ roads and local roads have been under-invested in for many years.
“This announcement is a positive step. The devil is in the detail and the RHA stands ready to assist government in ensuring that funding is granted to the improvements that are needed the most.”
The FTA’s head of UK policy, Christopher Snelling, also said the consultation was “good news” but added: “The Government must ensure that any projects funded by this scheme are designed for freight as well as car users.
“Above all, FTA believes any roads classed as part of the MRN must focus on making motor traffic more efficient and be open to all types of motor vehicle without restriction. There should be no HGV restrictions on anything that wants to claim to be a ‘Major Road’.”