Autumn Statement: £1 billion boost for major roads but IAM calls for cash for pothole repairs

Road safety charity welcomes major roads investment but highlights danger to those on two wheels

by Simon_MacMichael   November 29, 2011  

George Osborne

Road safety charity IAM has welcomed new investment in Britain’s motorway and A road network announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in his Autumn Statement this afternoon, but has said that priority needs to be given to repairing existing defects such as potholes that expose those on two wheels to a particularly high degree of danger.

Among the 20 major schemes that received the green light from the Chancellor today, only one, in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, makes any mention of cycling, with approval of an inner relief road that will allow the town centre to be pedestrianised with “enhanced pedestrian and cycle features.”

In all, the government plans to spend £5 billion from now until 2015, and a further £5 billion in the following five years, on a range of infrastructure projects together worth £30 billion, with the balance provided by the private sector.

The cash injection, which the government says will also ease unemployment, will be spent on schools and energy projects as well as in transport, where major schemes to benefit include extensions of the Tyne and Wear Metro and London Underground’s Northern Line.

More than £1 billion is to be spent on attempts to relieve congestion and other improvements to major roads, including £270 million that will enable use of the hard shoulder on the M3 and M6.

The interchange between the M1 and M6 will benefit from a £150 million overhaul, while £110 million has been set aside for the Kettering Bypass on the A14, £160 million to widen the A453 and £110 million for the A45/46 Tollbar End improvement scheme.

Smaller projects including ones aimed at “removing bottlenecks and improving safety and road layout” will benefit to the tune of £220 million.

IAM chief executive Simon Best commented: “£270 million for managed motorways is good news. In some cases managed motorways have halved the number of crashes. They also ease congestion and cut carbon emissions.  The extra money for our A roads is also welcome. But while today’s announcement will help, we need serious and sustained investment across the UK’s road network.

“Our roads are crying out for basic maintenance.  Crumbling roads and potholes are a serious problem and a road safety hazard, especially for those on two wheels.”

That danger was highlighted last week through the inquest into the death of 67-year-old cyclist Margaret Nicholl, who died in March from injuries sustained when she was thrown from her bike after hitting a pothole on a descent in Somerset.

The AA has warned that there are more potholes awaiting repair now than there were 12 months ago.

Mr Osborne insisted: “This all amounts to a huge commitment to overhauling the infrastructure of our nation. We will match it by overhauling the digital infrastructure too,” he added, with plans announced to roll out superfast broadband to nine in ten homes.

12 user comments

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You could have used an image showing a less smug looking Osborne (if such a thing exists) than this one. I nearly vomitted when I opened the page and saw his arrogant smirk staring out at me. (If you had an emoticon for vomitting, I would have inserted it!)

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [206 posts]
29th November 2011 - 16:23

3 Likes

cavasta wrote:
You could have used an image showing a less smug looking Osborne (if such a thing exists) than this one. I nearly vomitted when I opened the page and saw his arrogant smirk staring out at me. (If you had an emoticon for vomitting, I would have inserted it!)

Like this one? Sick

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8107 posts]
29th November 2011 - 16:24

1 Like

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
Like this one? Sick

Exactly like that one! I was too busy holding back the vomit to see it! Sick Now, if you'll excuse me I must dash.

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [206 posts]
29th November 2011 - 16:34

1 Like

So "we" cab afford to build new roads but not maintain the ones we have?

When these people are called economists what exactly does that mean?

Sick Crying

posted by 1961BikiE [82 posts]
29th November 2011 - 17:06

3 Likes

Hurrah! Let's continue trying to build our way out of carmageddon!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1345 posts]
29th November 2011 - 17:16

1 Like

The way potholes are developing in Somerset you'll soon able to cycle to Australia from any number of points. Does that qualify them for cycle superhighway status. Qn a serious note the IAM have got it spot on. But maintaining what we do have to a good standard does not grab headlines or encourage greater use of the car even if it does create jobs and save lives.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
29th November 2011 - 17:41

1 Like

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
cavasta wrote:
You could have used an image showing a less smug looking Osborne (if such a thing exists) than this one...

Or that one of Beefy Bertie I love so much

**SLAP**

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [412 posts]
29th November 2011 - 18:20

2 Likes

andylul wrote:
Or that one of Beefy Bertie I love so much

**SLAP**

Wait till you see the one I've got lined up if the CAS hearing goes his way Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8107 posts]
29th November 2011 - 18:59

2 Likes

Anyone care to guess what the average cost per mile of these schemes is? £20 million? £30 million? You can build a cycle path for about £250k per mile including land purchase.

The Highways Agency recently completed the Hindhead Tunnel at a cost of £371m - over £60m a mile for the tunnel and new road construction, or over £300m a mile if you consider it being the tunnel alone. Now they say that upgrading a footpath alongside the nearby A3 toa shared use cyclepath to connect local villages to the nearby of Godalming, which might cost less than 0.25% of this budget, can't be afforded.

posted by Paul M [311 posts]
29th November 2011 - 20:15

3 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
andylul wrote:
Or that one of Beefy Bertie I love so much

**SLAP**

Wait till you see the one I've got lined up if the CAS hearing goes his way Wink

Allow me to be the first to use a pre-emptive vomitting emoticon Sick

cavasta's picture

posted by cavasta [206 posts]
29th November 2011 - 20:24

1 Like

Improve the M1-M6 interchange? Pardon me but what has all the work, lane closures, 50mph speed limit the new bridge, and the rest been about over the past year? Read between the lines - Oh and here's the hoot from our steel highway friends - there's money going to hang nice sparky wire stuff and put down a bit of track but no one's done anything about ordering the trains to use it for over 900 days, and no prospect of this is in sight until 2012. Last time we got to 1064 days without ordering a single new train, and they take a bit longer to build than bicycles.

Enjoying the quick blast of the tempest outside and ample supply of water...

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [484 posts]
29th November 2011 - 20:37

1 Like

1961BikiE wrote:
So "we" cab afford to build new roads but not maintain the ones we have?

When these people are called economists what exactly does that mean?

Sick Crying

Presumably means being economical with the common-sense..

"the government plans to spend £5 billion from now until 2015, and a further £5 billion in the following five years, on a range of infrastructure projects together worth £30 billion, with the balance provided by the private sector."

So the private sector are going to cough up £20 billion are they?? Hmmm

posted by don_don [149 posts]
1st December 2011 - 17:34

2 Likes