A new approach to road upgrades will be piloted on four motorway-widening schemes, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced this week, as the Government pledged to speed up delivery of highway improvements.
The minister was speaking after Prime Minister David Cameron revealed his administration’s ambition ‘to cut the time it takes to upgrade our roads in half’.
Pledging to dismantle procedures that cause delays, Mr McLoughlin said: ‘In future all major road schemes will be accelerated, tackling congestion more quickly and
boosting the economy.’
The pilots involve three managed motorway schemes between junctions 2 and 4a along the M3 in Surrey, junctions 10a and 13 along the M6 in the West Midlands, and junctions 28 and 31 along the M1 in Derbyshire. The other pilot is a dualling project on the A160/A180 to improve access to the Port of Immingham.
They follow a review by the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency into how to speed up the decision-making process and build roads more quickly.
Officials suggest 1km of managed motorway can be built every two weeks instead of every four, while more complex capacity improvements on non-motorway routes can be delivered up to 25% more quickly.
The commitment to faster delivery convinced ministers to bring forward £75m of investment forward into this spending review.
According to the DfT, road schemes can be delivered more quickly by:
· undertaking concurrent planning, design and construction preparation activities;
· taking more work off-site and bringing to site as pre-fabricated /pre-assembled units; and
· moving toward a 24 hour operation with more people on site working on multiple faces at once.