England's road network to grow by 900 miles
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The road network in England is to see 900 miles of new carriageways added to it, in what the government has said is the largest road transport investment since the 1970s.
A total of £24 billion is being ploughed into developments on motorways and major A roads, with the aim of creating greater traffic capacity (by a third) in the face of rapidly increasing car ownership.
In total, 60 separate new road schemes have been committed to, which will create 962 miles of new roads, according to roads minister John Hayes. Most are intended to relieve traffic blackspots and bottlenecks in the current network. Possible solutions are expected to be published later this year.
Mr Hayes commented: "This government will oversee more work, more safety, and more improvements on our roads. This will benefit hard-working people and businesses, help ease congestion and create a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond."
Motorists who have suffered damage to their cars as a result of the poor state of roads will be pleased to hear than £6 billion of the total budget has been earmarked to resurface more than 3,000 miles of the network.
The government is claiming to have taken the concerns of green campaigners and environmental groups into account in the planning of this new investment, with the expansion of existing roads, rather than the creation of new ones, key to reducing the scheme's ecological impact.
"We're doing this with great care for our environment. This extra capacity will be achieved mainly by the use of smart motorways and selective widening to minimise the environmental impact," Mr Hayes explained.
The investment will be shaped by the results of the Highways Agency's route strategies – a comprehensive review of all the country's roads, which will determine future roads management priorities.
The Highways Agency itself is also due to be turned into a government-owned company, a move that is hoped will save taxpayers around £2.6 billion over the next ten years.