Regional transport body Midlands Connect has published a list of 20 road projects it wants to see prioritised under the second national Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) from 2020-2025.
The sub-national transport body is also seeking a 'formal role in the RIS decision-making process' as it hopes to shape the long-term delivery programme of shovel-ready schemes for the following decade, over and above the five year RIS timeframes.
Highways England has been earmarked £25bn for the period, a 40% increase on RIS 1.
The Midlands Connect document asks for clarity that already committed projects are delivered, together with commitments on new schemes that 'focus on supporting job creation, new homes and providing a resilient alternative to the motorway network'.
Simon Statham, director of technical programmes at Midlands Connect, said: 'Midlands Connect already has a close relationship with Highways England and the Department for Transport, but strengthening our collaboration further can ensure investment is targeted in the right place, at the right time and for the right reasons.
'A third of all road freight travels through, to or from the region, so it’s important that these ambitious yet deliverable schemes for the Midlands are prioritised alongside larger, more complex projects elsewhere, like the Oxford-Cambridge expressway.'
Deliver new schemes in RIS2 (2020-2025)
The strategy includes five 'clear, deliverable objectives from RIS2 to ensure short-term progress as well as long-term commitments that unleash the Midlands’ growth potential':
- M6 J15-16 Smart Motorway (including junction 15 improvements);
- A49 Hereford Bypass;
- M5 Junction 1 improvements;
- M6 J0-2 Smart Motorway; and
- A5 upgrade between the M42 and M69.
Complete the construction of RIS1 (2015-2020) commitments
Midlands Connect identified 10 regional projects earmarked to start construction during by March 2020 that must be completed by 2025.
- earliest possible construction of the M54 to M6 Link Road;
- planned junction upgrades to the A38 near Derby, A52 near Nottingham and A46 near Coventry
- and the proposed widening of the A500 in Stoke-on-Trent and A5 in Warwickshire.
- Deliver schemes developed in RIS1 (2015-20) during RIS2 (2020-2025)
Midlands Connect is seeking a commitment to deliver four projects in RIS2 that were developed in RIS1:
- the A50 Uttoxeter Project B: Eastern Junction, to complement improvements to the west of the town
- and A46 Newark Northern Bypass, an essential upgrade to remove a major bottleneck and support housing and employment sites.
- Smart Motorway M1 J19-23a
- Birmingham Box Smart Motorway (Phase 4)
JCB is supporting investment in the A50. Mark Turner, chief operating officer said: 'Like many of the other big employers based along the A50 corridor, to keep investing and growing, we need the A50 to be resilient, accessible and reliable 365 days a year. Without the full promised upgrade, there’s a risk the A50 could constrain economic growth for companies like JCB, rather than support it.'
Plan for the future: support corridor approaches
Midlands Connect is taking a long-term corridor approach and hopes to establish partnerships between HS2 Ltd and Highways England.
It states: 'It is particularly important to ensure Highways England develops, in partnership with HS2 Ltd, a comprehensive scheme for the A52/M1 Junction 25 to address existing congestion and future-proof it ready for the arrival of the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton. To ensure delivery before the most intense periods of HS2 construction and the start of new train services from Toton, this scheme must be developed in RIS2 and delivered in RIS3.'
In 2019, Midlands Connect will complete two years of technical corridor studies for the A46, A5 and A50/A500, setting out 10-20 year investment programmes.
Strengthen the relationship with Highways England
Building on Midlands Connect’s already close, collaborative relationship with Highways England, there is a proposal to work together to identify possible alternatives to RIS funding to accelerate the overall programme, including engaging resource from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund and Transforming Cities Fund.
20 schemes in full
RIS1 commitments planned for construction
- 1)A500 Etruria Valley
- 2)M6 J13-15 Smart Motorway
- 3)M54 to M6 Link Road
- 4)A5 Dodwells to Longshoot Widening
- 5)M40 M42 Interchange Smart Motorway
- 6)M6 J10
- 7)M42 J6
- 8)A38 Derby Junctions
- 9)A46 Coventry Junction Upgrades
- 10)A52 Nottingham Junctions
RIS1 development schemes to be delivered in RIS2
- 11)A50 Uttoxeter Project B: Eastern junction
- 12)A46 Newark Northern Bypass
- 13)Smart Motorway M1 J19-23a
- 14)Birmingham Box Smart Motorway (Phase 4)
Deliver new schemes in RIS2
- 15)M6 J15-16 Smart Motorway (including J15 improvements)
- 16)A49 Hereford Bypass
- 17)M5 J1 improvements
- 18)M6 J0-2 Smart Motorway
- 19)A5 upgrade between the M42 and M69
For the future