The government has promised to spend £93 million for “major road upgrades” across the country, with emphasis on roads in the north. More than half the funding will go to the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouse’, including a project in North Yorkshire designed to improve journeys between Harrogate and Skipton.

Under the proposals, a new piece of road will be built to divert traffic away from the landslip-prone Kex Gill part of the route. This, it is hoped, will help to cut traffic in nearby villages and offer road users “more reliable journeys” around that part of North Yorkshire.

That £56 million plan is being joined by a £24 million investment in the Birchley Island junction in the west midlands. Situated at the intersection of the M5, A4123 and A4034, the roundabout will be widened to improve traffic flow – a goal the Department for Transport (DfT) hopes will “boost employment, improve air quality and increase the region’s manufacturing output”.

Roadworks sign

And £13 million will be spent upgrading the Redbridge Causeway bridges over the River Test in Hampshire. The bridges carry roughly 60,000 vehicles a day, providing access to the Port of Southampton, and linking the New Forest waterside with Southampton. The funding is designed to speed up maintenance work, speeding up journeys and reducing the need for “disruptive works” in the future.

“I am delighted to announce this significant funding package, which will ensure millions of people can continue to travel easily and safely,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. “It’s further proof of this government delivering on its promise to level up the country – putting transport at the heart of our efforts to build back better from Covid-19.

“The projects will help people access work and education, as well as ensuring vital connectivity for local businesses. While everyone will see the benefits of these schemes in time, for now, it’s important to remember to only travel for the permitted reasons while we continue to prioritise protecting public health and preventing the spread of the virus.”

Meanwhile the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, said the investment would do more than just improve the roads for British drivers.

“Upgrading the country’s roads doesn’t just help drivers,” he said. “It’ll mean more jobs, safer journeys and more reliable access to things like education and work. This government is pressing ahead with our commitment to level up the country – even through this pandemic – ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity to get on in life regardless of where they live.”

Heavy traffic on UK motorway in England