The Scottish Government has announced an extra £167m for the country’s trunk road network next year and promised ‘a vastly improved motorway network fit for the 21st century’.
Following the publication last week of the devolved administration’s draft budget, Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, said: ‘We will now inject a further £167m of spending to accelerate planned projects and maintain Scotland’s trunk roads.
An aerial photo shows construction progress on central Scotland’s motorways
‘Our total investment in our motorways and trunk roads has risen from £830m in 2016-17 to £997m in 2017-18, an increase of 17.9%. As well as supporting new investment this shows we are committed to ensuring that the trunk road network remains safe, efficient and resilient, allowing effective movement of people, goods and services around, as well as to and from, Scotland.
He added: ‘Next year will see the £500m investment to upgrade central Scotland’s motorway network come to fruition as the new M8 and upgraded M73 and M74 open to traffic in the spring.
‘Together, with this increase of £167m of further investment in planned infrastructure projects and maintenance, I am confident 2017 will deliver a vastly improved motorway network fit for the 21st century.’
The additional funding includes £56m extra for network strengthening, which includes repairs, safety critical work, inspections and essential bridge maintenance, and an extra £28m for structural repairs.
The capital budget for maintenance of the Forth Road Bridge has increased by 138.4% to £21.5m, while the capital funding for maintenance of the Tay Road Bridge has increased to £2.3m, an increase of 360%.
Earlier this year, a Scottish parliamentary committee said a decision by the previous operator of the Forth Road Bridge to defer work that could have prevented its sudden closure ‘was a direct consequence of a decision by the Scottish Government/Transport Scotland to reduce its capital grant allocation for the period 2012/13 to 2014/15.’