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FIRST OF GOVERNMENT'S£2BN ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME OPENS TO TRAFFIC

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The first new road scheme in the government's£2bn targeted programme ...
The first new road scheme in the government's£2bn targeted programme

of major improvements for trunk roads and motorways was opened today

by Highways Agency chief executive Tim Matthews.

Mr Matthews cut the tape on a bypass for Polegate, near Eastbourne in

East Sussex. This will relieve the town of the congestion, danger,

noise and smell of heavy A27 through traffic.

The 2.5km bypass, a£17.2m contract, is the first of 53 major

improvements to the motorway and trunk road network in England to be

completed by the Highways Agency. It will be followed in around two

months' time by an opening of a£75m dual carriageway improvement

along the A43 north of the M40, which includes a bypass for

Silverstone. Part of the scheme will be used temporarily to access

the British Grand Prix in July. The whole scheme will be opened later

this summer.

Currently, the Highways Agency has a further 20 major roads under

construction, including a£53m improvement for access to the docks in

Hull, and major bypasses for Bingley and Selby in Yorkshire.

In addition to this programme of improvements, the Agency expects to

open the new bridge across the Medway in the summer, as part of the

£124m widening of the A2 between London and the South Coast

John Spellar, minster for transport said:

'The Polegate bypass is the first in the programme of 53 improvements

over the next seven years targeted to:

ease congestion pinch-points,

relieve communities from the blight and pollution of heavy through

traffic;

save scores of deaths and injuries from accidents;

increase integration with public transport

improve accessibility to promote regeneration and economic growth.

'The Polegate Bypass also links with a major improvement to the A22

built by East Sussex CC, thereby providing a new route

which will greatly assist the economic regeneration of Eastbourne.

'I am delighted that the Highways Agency and the contractors proved

able to largely overcome delays caused by last winter's atrocious wet

weather and flooding in the area, in order to bring much badly-needed

relief from congestion for drivers on the A27, and, not least, a

better environment for the residents of Polegate.

'Elsewhere, the Highways Agency is making good progress in its task

to deliver on time all the other important schemes in the

government's Targeted Programme of Improvements. These will benefit

many other local communities and all road users, resulting in less

congested roads and safer and improved environments, as a result of

our total investment of around£2 billion in the country's strategic

road network.

'Schemes will also deliver improved transport for communities, the

overall aim being to combine new public transport initiatives with

sensible road improvements, tackling congestion and pollution in an

integrated long-term approach.'

'Road improvements, though vital, are just one element of the

agency's role. The government has tasked the agency with delivering

better services for motorists, including making the most of the

latest technology such as the contract for a national traffic control

centre.' In addition to the 20 schemes already under way, the agency

has a further 33 schemes being actively pursued through various

consultative and statutory procedures.

By 2007, work will either have been completed, or be substantially

under way, on all 53 schemes. The agency is also embarking on a

separate programme of 100 smaller schemes, each under£5m, also aimed

at easing congestion and improving safety.

All schemes were, and will be, subject to NATA (New Approach To

Appraisal) to ensure that the candidates for the new programme would

be based on a balanced view of the implications of the schemes in

terms of: economics, environmental impact, safety, accessibility and

integration.

Notes

More details of the active road schemes follow.

The Targeted Programme of Improvements contains 40 schemes originally

announced in the Ten Year Plan for Transport in 1998 to which 13

others have been added subsequently.

The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for

Transport which operates the network of motorways and other main

roads in England on behalf of the secretary of state. It works

closely with other transport operators and with local authorities to

integrate the network with the rest of England's roads and other

forms of transport.

Targeted Programme of Improvement: Schemes Under Construction:

As well as of the A27 Polegate bypass, the other schemes under way

are:

A1: Willowburn-Denwick, Northumberland -£6.2 m, 4.2km mile new

carriageway to dual existing A1, improving safety. Anticipated

opening 2002/03.

A6 Great Glen bypass, Leics -£15m, 5.6km dual carriageway removing

75 per cent of through traffic, saving estimated 18 deaths and 325

fewer accidents over 30 years. Anticipated opening 2002/03.

A41 Aston Clinton bypass, Bucks -£21m 6.4km dual carriageway

removing 70 per cent of through traffic and reducing the accident

rate. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A43 Silverstone bypass, Northants -£18m 8km dual carriageway to

remove 85 per cent of through traffic from the village, with a

predicted saving of 48 fatalities, 385 serious and 1,038 injuries

over 30 years. Anticipated opening 2002/03.

A43 Whitfield Turn - Brackley Hatch improvement, Northants -£12.9m

4.5km carriageway to remove most traffic from three small villages,

saving a predicted 20 fatalities, 171 serious and 467 slight injuries

over 30 years. Anticipated opening 2002/03.

A43 M40-B4031 improvement, Oxon/Northants -£18m 6.6km dualling to

relieve congestion and save 20 fatalities, 171 serious and 467 slight

injuries over 30 years. Anticipated opening 2002/03.

A1033 Hedon Road, Hull, improvement -£53m improvement to relieve

heavy congestion and support the port development. Anticipated

opening 2003/04.

A6 Clapham by-pass, Beds -£31m 5km dual carriageway bypass removing

80 pr cent of through traffic. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A11 Roudham Heath to Attleborough improvement, Norfolk -£27m

dualling scheme will lead a predicted saving of 43 deaths, 394

serious and 995 slight injuries over 30 years. Anticipated opening

2002/03.

A66 Stainburn and Great Clifton bypass, Cumbria -£10m 3.9 km single

carriageway by-pass to relive the two villages and encourage new

business into Workington and West Cumbria. Anticipated opening

2002/03.

A500 Basford, Hough, and Shavington by pass, Cheshire -£28m 7.5km by

pass taking 75 per cent of traffic out of the three villages and

providing better access from the M6 to the European rail freight

terminal and business developments south of Crewe. Anticipated

opening 2003/04.

A650 Bingley Relief Road, West Yorks -£53m 5km dual carriageway to

remove 90 per cent of heavy goods vehicles from the town, and support

local regeneration. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A63 Selby bypass, North Yorkshire -£42.6m 10km by pass taking

traffic out of the town, with an estimated reduction of 250 personal

injury accidents over 30 years. Anticipated opening: 2003/04

A120/M11 Stanstead- Braintree Improvement -£74m scheme will improve

access to the area and make substantial savings on journey times to

facilitate development associated with the expansion of Stanstead

Airport. The scheme will also improve safety and provide

environmental relief along the existing A120 by removing through

traffic. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A5 Nesscliffe bypass, Shropshire -£13.5m 4.5km bypass to remove 90

per cent of traffic from the village, removing bottleneck on the main

route to Holyhead. Anticipated opening: 2003/04.

A6 Rothwell-Desborough bypass, Northants, -£10.5m scheme to relieve

the villages of most of 15,000 vehicles a day, causing severe

environmental and safety problems caused by current tortuous route.

Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A6 Rushden and Higham Ferrers bypass, Northants -£9.4m scheme to

relieve the two towns of most of 20,000 vehicles a day, causing

severe safety and environmental problems due to tortuous current

route. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

A10 Wadesmill-Colliers End bypass, Herts -£24m scheme bringing

environmental and safety benefits by taking most of 27,000 vehicles a

day out of three villages. Anticipated opening 2004/05.

A46 Newark-Lincoln Improvement (£29m), Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire

The improvement will alleviate problems of safety and slow journey

times on this single carriageway road with farm accesses which

carries a high traffic flow of 19,000vpd (19% HGV). There will be

improved access to assist regeneration in Lincolnshire and a

reduction in environmental problems where the A436 passes through the

village of Brough. Anticipated opening 2003/04.

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