‘Extra 900 miles of capacity’ to be added to highway network

12.00 | 27 August 2014 | | 2 comments

The Government has announced that “900 extra lane miles of road capacity" will be added to England’s strategic highway network by 2021 – a third more than was provided in the previous decade.

The additional capacity will be added through a £24bn investment programme which the Government says is the biggest since the 1970s. The investment includes more than £9bn on maintenance, £6bn of which will be spent on resurfacing 3,000 miles of the strategic road network.

John Hayes, roads minister, said: “We are fixing problems created by Governments of the past by delivering around 35% more capacity on our roads than was delivered in the nine years up to 2010.

“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.”

The Government has committed to 60 new road schemes, the majority of which will be completed by 2021, which will provide 962 miles of new road. By comparison, in the period 2001 to 2010, 574 lane miles were constructed.


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    900 extra lane mile or road capacity is not a great increase. Lower than 1% of present tarmac. Most of the money is being used on repair and resurfacing and a smaller amount on increasing road space including the selective increased usage in the 4th lane on selected motorways. Of the 60 new road schemes by 2021, the next 7 years, I am sure that some are link motorways and by passes that will alleviate traffic congestion and also take HGVs and other commercial vehicles off some of our busy arterial roads. Those plans no doubt will include specific designs for cyclists which will naturally have to be taken into account. Let’s not forget that our motorways are some of the safest roads in Europe.

    bob craven Lancs
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    How is this even happening in this day and age? It is proven, and has been continually proven over the past couple of decades that building more capacity actually increases congestion. To relieve congestion you need to provide for the alternatives for motor transport – public transport, walking and cycling.

    “An average road improvement, for which traffic growth due to all other factors is forecast correctly, will see an additional [i.e. induced] 10% of base traffic in the short term and 20% in the long term.” (1994 SACTRA report ‘Trunk Roads and the Generation of Traffic’)

    Steve, Merseyside
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