The government has announced plans to spend more than £160 million on four new road upgrade schemes around the UK. The projects, which are intended to reduce congestion and provide an economic boost to the relevant regions, include a bridge improvement and the construction of an entire new road.

The most expensive of the new schemes is the construction of a 3.85-mile road linking the Cornish town of St Austell to the A30. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the £78.5 million scheme will create more than 6,000 new jobs and generate around £112 million in “wider economic benefits” by reducing journey times and improving investment in the area. The project will also include a new “shared pedestrian and cycle facility” along the whole length of the new road.

Second on the list is an “essential maintenance” programme for the Tyne Bridge linking Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead and the adjacent Central Motorway. The £35.3 million project will include improvements to traffic management and cycle routes, and the DfT claims the scheme will also improve air quality as it “will avoid the rerouting of HGVs through residential areas”.

Traffic jam on a city street

Following closely behind is a £33.6 million investment to “enhance walking and cycling accessibility and tackle congestion” on the A34 between Greater Manchester and Stockport. This project also includes “support” for the development of 2,500 new homes and new transport links for Manchester Airport. Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council says it will also pay more than half a million pounds towards the scheme, while £6.3 million will be invested by “third-party developers”.

Finally, on the south coast of England, the government plans to spend £13.4 million on maintenance for the A35 Redbridge Causeway, which links the New Forest, Southampton and the Port of Southampton. It’s a scheme the DfT says will generate almost £340 million in “direct” economic benefits by providing improved employment and housing opportunities, as well as facilitating the growth of the port.

“We are committed to delivering world-class infrastructure across all parts of the country which supports local economies to thrive,” said roads minister Baroness Vere. “This £160.8 million investment will level up those opportunities from the North East to the South West, while giving motorists, cyclists and pedestrians the modern, safe and uncongested roads they deserve. These schemes also present yet another important stepping stone towards cutting emissions and building a clean, efficient road network that is truly accessible to all.”