A £6.1 billion (€6.95 billion) programme of road improvements in England has been unveiled by Transport Minister Jesse Norman as part of the government’s £23 billion (€26.20 billion) upgrade to the road network in the country.

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This includes the route for the new A19 Downhill Lane junction – a £100 million (€113.95 million) project between Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland in north east England which has just been announced.

The new junction is designed to support a new international manufacturing park by significantly increasing road capacity, easing traffic and improving safety — as well as boosting the local economy.

The government said that over the coming six months, it would take the next steps on 55 road improvements across the country, including opening eight schemes, consulting on ten schemes and publishing final plans for another 29 schemes.

Norman said, “Road users across England should soon be seeing the benefits of these improvements in their daily lives, which are designed to link people better with their jobs, friends, family and local amenities, as well as connecting businesses with customers.

“Over the next six months we expect to roll out our vital upgrade plan — taking next steps on £6.1 billion-worth of schemes and seeking to hear from local people, organisations and businesses to help shape our plans and ensure they benefit local communities.”

He added that he planned to announce soon the winners of the 2017 to 2018 highways maintenance challenge fund, where the government would be investing £75 million (€85.47 million) to improve smaller local roads through resurfacing, filling potholes and other infrastructure projects.

Planned upgrades

Planned upgrades will include adding capacity to sections of the A1 in Northumberland, north east England.

There are also proposals to increase capacity at the A12 Colchester Bypass in Essex, in the south east of England, plus a new strategic corridor to the south west of the country via the A303.

Other improvements include a more efficient Junction 19 on the M6 north of Birmingham, and an upgrade to the link between the Port of Liverpool and the motorway network.

Jesse norman mp

Jesse Norman MP

The government said these announcements were important next steps in the progress of the schemes announced in the 2014 road investment strategy, which outlined how £15.2 billion (€17.33 billion) would be invested in strategic roads between 2015 and 2021.

The schemes will be delivered by government-owned Highways England, which is responsible for the country’s motorways and main trunk roads.

Highways England CEO Jim O’Sullivan said, “Highways England is committed to delivering the government’s investment programme to improve the strategic road network. These milestones are critical elements of our current work and we are extremely pleased that we are on track to deliver them.”

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