In March 2020, as part of his budget statement, the Chancellor announced a budget of Â£ 27.4 billion for investment in England’s strategic road network between 2020 and 2025. The publication of the second strategy Government Road Investment (RIS2) provided more details.
Highways England has now published its own strategic business plan for RIS2, setting out how it plans to spend that Â£ 27.4 billion.
Highlights are the Â£ 2bn Stonehenge Tunnel to upgrade the A303 (Amesbury to Berwick Down) and the Â£ 7bn Lower Thames Passage. Work on the Stonehenge tunnel is expected to start in summer 2022; construction of the Thames underpass is due to start in early 2023.
Over the next five years Â£ 14.2 billion is expected to be spent on improving the network (improvement programs); Â£ 10.8 billion will be devoted to operating the existing network (operation, maintenance and renewal); Â£ 1.1 billion will go to Highways England’s internal running costs; and an additional Â£ 936 million has been allocated to ‘designated funds’ (‘ carrying out projectsâ¦ beyond the traditional focus of road investments).
Highways England Managing Director Jim O’Sullivan said: âHaving the certainty of a long-term investment and a schedule of committed programs and goals has helped us move away from the management of the SRN as individual assets, such as tarmac, concrete, bridges and signs. We have reached a point where the government views our roads as a fully integrated system and part of the larger UK transport network. As a result, we can work better with our stakeholders and with our supply chain as partners. We offer much improved customer service and we are starting to close the backlog of decades of underinvestment in the country’s most important transportation network.
As previously announced, Highways England is committed to correcting many of the dangers it had previously incorporated into its “smart” highways. It promises to end the use of dynamic emergency lane highways by March 2025, upgrading them to all lanes by converting the emergency lane to a permanent traffic lane. .
Stopped vehicle detection technology, which was supposed to be a key feature of “smart” highways but has been quietly forgotten, will now be introduced in all existing traffic sections by the end of March 2023, the plan says. ‘business.
And ‘smart’ motorways are increasingly receiving areas of refuge for stranded motorists – 10 more are due to be installed on the M25 before the end of 2020. Highways England will then examine the impact of these for a few years and consider add others elsewhere.
Existing refuge areas that are narrower than the current 15 foot standard will be widened âwhere possible and appropriateâ.
For more details see Highwaysengland.co.uk/strategic-business-plan