Proposed Major Road Network will see investment rise for Britain's busiest roads

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Heavy traffic congestion on the M1 into Newry, as hordes of shoppers surged across the border into Northern Ireland today as they used the Republic's national strike to stock up on Christmas shopping.

Key roads across the country could benefit from up to £100 million in extra funding, according to plans released by government. Up to 5,000 miles of A roads could be reclassified on a new "Major Road Network", which would see them considered for funding in order to cut congestion and boost economic growth.

The Major Road Network would compliment the existing Strategic Road Network, which encompasses motorways and major A roads across the country and is managed by Highways England rather than local authorities. The funding from the MRN would be available to schemes seeking between £20-£100 million.


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The scheme would seek to invest in major local roads, which often carry vast amounts of traffic but can be difficult to co-ordinate. Repairs and refurbishments of the roads can be a planning nightmare as they often cross several local authorities.

A consultation on the MRN is in place, with government debating how to define roads in need of extra funding. Highways that show high levels of use and play a key role in local economies will likely be included, as could sections of roads de-classified from the Strategic Road Network.

Transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: 'We propose to create a Major Road Network, of approximately the same mileage as the network for which Highways England is responsible.

"For decades, these major local roads have been underfunded and not properly maintained. We are spending record amounts on improving our roads and we want more of our busiest roads to benefit from guaranteed investment.

"This will unlock no end of benefits for communities by improving motorists' journeys, taking traffic away from built up areas, as well as enabling new housing to be built and creating jobs."

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