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£160m Investment To Improve Connectivity And Reduce Congestion

4 min

Credit: dun_deagh, Flickr
The UK Government has announced four major road schemes, which are backed by a total of £160.8 million investment. Quadrant Transport looks at how the schemes will help to benefit local communities.

Newcastle, Cornwall, Greater Manchester, and Southampton will see the four schemes benefit their local communities by improving connectivity and reducing congestion.

In addition to, generating an estimated £659.3 million in economic benefits for the regions, other benefits include improved investment, new housing, and employment opportunities.

Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “We are committed to delivering world-class infrastructure across all parts of the country which supports local economies to thrive.

“This £160.8 million investment will level up those opportunities from the North East to the South West, while giving motorists, cyclists and pedestrians the modern, safe and uncongested roads they deserve.

These schemes also present yet another important stepping stone towards cutting emissions and building a clean, efficient road network that is truly accessible to all.

The Four Schemes Will Provide Clean Travel Opportunities

Said to be creating 6,300 new local jobs, £78.5 million of the £160.8 million investment will see a new 3.85-mile (6.2 kilometres) road link St Austell to the A30 – the main transport artery in Cornwall.

Not only will this provide better opportunities for clean travel thanks to a new shared pedestrian and cycle facility running alongside the whole length of the new road but it will see wider benefits through reduced journey times and increased investment in the local area.

Going towards the maintenance of the Tyne Bridge and adjacent Central Motorway, £35.3 million will aim to improve traffic management and cycle route facilities. By improving local connectivity, and tackling congestion and poor air quality, the repairs are said to generate £130 million in economic benefits.

As outlined in the Department for Transport’s Decarbonising Transport – A Better, Greener Britain document, without making the necessary changes, the current transport system places wider costs on society. Tackling poor air quality is essential as air pollution could see costs to health and social care reach £5.3 billion by 2035.

The current transport system could see air pollution cost health and social care £5.3 billion by 2035, Department for Transport

Tackling Congestion Is Key For Cyclists And Pedestrians

To enhance walking and cycling accessibility, £33.6 million will be used to tackle congestion across the A34 between Greater Manchester and Stockport.

It is said to see an estimated economic benefit of £76.8 million and will support the development of more than 2,500 new homes and 33.3 hectares of employment space while aiming to boost transport links to Manchester Airport and HS2.

A total of £13.4 million will be used to support the maintenance of the A35 Redbridge Causeway, which is a vital link between New Forest, Southampton, and its port. The UK Government claim it will generate almost £340 million worth of direct economic benefits through better connectivity, improved employment and housing opportunities and the expansion of the Port of Southampton.

Encouraging A Modal Shift Is Essential

To overcome congestion, encouraging people to take public transport rather than travel by car is key and will be done by creating connected communities.

Connected communities need interconnected transport to thrive. The development of connected digital transport infrastructure will not only improve mobility for people but could help the UK on its pathway to net zero.

Now, the industry’s job is to help people make better choices that help us move to a greener future. Connected digital transport will see the integration of electric vehicles and the reduction of pollution due to stop-start traffic. Through the design of a low carbon multimodal transport system, people could have a seamless low carbon journey.

People Must Embrace Green Travel Options

Through the upgraded lanes and paths for cyclists and pedestrians, these four schemes will also boost the green travel opportunities to support low-emission, active travel, working towards the country’s net zero goals.

National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Martin McTague, said: “Investment in local infrastructure projects is vital to improving connectivity across the country, reducing congestion and upgrading the roads that small businesses use on a day to day basis.

“Small firms and sole traders rely heavily on road networks to be accessible, efficient and safe. They are also looking to reduce environmental impact and improve the air quality in their local community – and so embrace green travel options when they are available.

Our economic recovery relies on a solid transport system and this latest investment is a positive step in the right direction.

Improving connectivity and reducing congestion will benefit cycling and pedestrians and will support the UK in reaching our net zero targets by providing green travel opportunities and minimising air pollution.