Over the past five years, Highways England has completed 36 major improvement schemes and has said that during its next five-year road investment strategy (RIS2) delivery programme it will be delivering £14 billion worth on projects and support 64,000 construction jobs.
According to Construction Enquirer, in the past five years, the government-owned company has added additional capacity on the M20 in Kent, and the M6 in the Midlands and Cheshire, as well as 160 cycling route improvements, reduced flooding at 260 locations, reduced noise levels at over 1,170 locations, and improved the air quality at 101 locations.
The road improvement schemes have allowed access for the building of 44,000 new homes, and the creation of 45,000 jobs.
Highways England have now laid out their plans to deliver the governments RIS2, which was announced during the Budget back in March. The plans include:
- Open more than 50 upgrades and save millions of hours by improving journey times
- Invest almost £1bn on projects to improve roads, such as conserving cultural heritage or strengthening flood resilience, and improving access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders
- Help make 7,500 households quieter by tackling noise from roads
- Stop the loss of biodiversity
- develop around 30 schemes for potential construction post-2025
There will also be major projects to improve connections within the country, including:
- Construction of a new road and tunnel under the Thames between Essex and Kent, adding capacity and speeding up journeys between the Channel ports and the rest of the country.
- Upgrading the A66, creating the first new Trans-Pennine dual carriageway since 1971, and improving connections between ports in Scotland and Northern Ireland and those in England at Hull and Felixstowe.
- Improving the major direct route between the South East and South West including a tunnel near the Stonehenge World Heritage Site
There will be also improvements and repairs to current infrastructure, some of which is over 60 years old:
- Resurfacing of nearly 5,000 lane miles of road
- Installation of more than 1,000 miles of safety barriers on motorways and dual carriageways
- Renewing over 170 bridges and other structures
- Investing £300-400 million replacing ageing concrete sections on the A14, M5, M18, M20, M42, M54 and M56
Whatever your construction role in the future of the UK’s highways, keep safe, warm, and dry with JCB work clothes.