Highways England is investing more than £7 million in a series of schemes that will improve journeys, generate jobs and help unlock plans to build homes.
This funding boost comes from Highways England’s Growth and Housing Fund budget and includes:
- Nearly £4 million for junction improvement schemes around the A45 in Northamptonshire
- Almost £3 million for junction improvement schemes around the M42 and M5 in Worcestershire
- Nearly £620,000 at Moor Lane Roundabout in Exeter
Ian Parsons, Highways England’s senior investment planning manager, said: “Our roads are vital for the country and its economic success; they connect businesses and communities and support employment and new homes. All of our improvements will ultimately ensure our roads continue to improve journeys and unlock the potential for new jobs and homes.”
Northamptonshire will benefit from a Highways England contribution of around £4 million to deliver a comprehensive package of junction improvements at Queen Eleanor, Brackmills and Great Billing junctions along the A45.
This funding is aimed at helping local communities unlock plans for future housing, including a Homes England site at Hardingstone and to create better journey times and generate jobs.
Once delivered, the improvements will support a further 14,500 homes in the wider area and create some 3,000 jobs. The improvements will be delivered by Northamptonshire County Council.
Councillor Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “These are very important works for Northampton and the county as a whole as the infrastructure improvements to these busy parts of the road network will help accommodate housing development. This goes to show how good partnership working can be instrumental in bringing the improvements required that benefit the local economy.”
Head of Public Sector Land (South East) for Homes England Charles Amies said: “Providing major infrastructure is key to unlocking the development of new and affordable homes, so we welcome Highways England’s investment in improving the A45.
“The development will support the ambitions we share with Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council to create the communities, employment opportunities and transport links the county needs.
Regional Director for Kier Living Martin Bessant added: “We are committed to building houses in areas of the country with the greatest need. Our Hardingstone development will deliver 750 new homes as well as vital new and improved infrastructure, including roads, as we look to leave a lasting legacy for residents and the wider community.”
The Northamptonshire improvements scheme is expected to start on site in June 2019 and be completed and open to traffic by March 2021.
Worcestershire will benefit from a Highways England contribution of £2.68 million to support two schemes to improve journeys around junction 4 of the M5 and junction 1 of the M42 near Bromsgrove.
The improvements, which include widening the A38 at junction 1 of the M42 and at M5 junction 4 to Lydiate Ash Road, are expected to significantly reduce queuing at peak times in the area and improve journey times. They are part of the wider A38 Bromsgrove Corridor scheme which, when complete, is expected to unlock a total of 1,946 homes and allow new offices and warehouse space to be built, creating employment opportunities in the local area.
The scheme is being developed by Worcestershire County Council in partnership with Bromsgrove District Council and is being funded by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Highways England with further funding from the private sector.
More details on the scheme will be shared by Worcestershire County Council over the coming months.
Exeter and the surrounding area will benefit from a £619,000 Highways England contribution to the scheme which will deliver extra lanes on the southern approach to Moor Lane Roundabout and improve local road access from the A30.
The improvements will reduce queuing at peak times in the area, especially on the M5 junction 29 exit slip roads, and improve journey times.
The £2.23 million scheme is being delivered by Devon County Council and is also being supported by the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) which is providing £858,000 in funding, with a further £750,000 coming from the private sector. Work is expected to start the Autumn of 2019 and continue until the following Spring.
Highways England’s contribution will enable the building of 370 of the planned 1,870 homes at Cranbrook in east Devon and Hill Barton in Exeter to be brought forward.
The scheme also complements the recently delivered Tithe Barn improvement scheme, which included a 60-metre span pedestrian and cycle bridge and was funded with over £4 million from Highways England’s Growth and Housing Fund, as well as developers’ contributions.
The pedestrian and cycle bridge, which runs alongside the existing bridge just north of Junction 29, opened in February – with the link road fully opened in April.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Infrastructure and Development, said: “Increasing the capacity at Moor Lane roundabout is a positive investment in our local infrastructure which supports Devon’s continuing economic growth. It will help citybound commuters on the A30 in the mornings and will ease congestion problems for people leaving Sowton Industrial Estate in the evenings.
“Devon County Council is continuing its excellent track record of getting schemes shovel ready. Working with Highways England, the Growth and Housing Fund, has helped us deliver the Tithebarn Link Road and pedestrian and cycle bridge, while the National Productivity Investment Fund is helping support the next phase of the E4 cycle route, expansion of the Co-Bikes scheme, a new Park and Change near Exeter Science Park and the works at Moor Lane roundabout.
“The eastern edge of the city will benefit from over £15 million of transport investment over the next three years. These improvements will upgrade transport links while providing access to planned new homes and employment land.”
Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, also welcomed the improvement to the Moor Lane junction, adding: “This scheme will help support the dynamic growth of both employment and housing East of Exeter, including the Science Park, Skypark and the new community of Cranbrook. Reducing congestion is crucial in continuing to attract investment in our businesses.”
All the schemes are receiving support from the fund that has already provided over £77 million to communities across the country, improving junctions and creating access to commercial land and new homes.
To date the specialist fund has made huge improvements and benefits to local communities, unlocking homes and jobs in Swindon, Exeter, Weston-super-Mare, Darlington, Scunthorpe, Grantham, Warrington, Derby, Oldham, Taunton, Durham, Daventry, Leicester and Southampton.