The government has announced plans to spend more than £160 million on upgrading roads in the south-west of England. The money will fund more than 100 schemes across regions including Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall, with roads such as the M5, M4 and A40 all in line for improvement.
National Highways, the government-run organisation in charge of England’s motorways and major A-roads, says the planned works will benefit “motorists, pedestrians and cyclists”. The improvements include road resurfacing, bridge joint replacements and the creation of cycle lanes, as well as improved signage and landscaping.
Work is set to begin “in the coming weeks”, with proposed schemes including deck refurbishments for the flyovers at Junction 16 of the M5 and the ST Georges Railway Bridge between Junctions 20 and 21 of the same motorway. Work will also be done on the drainage of the A36 between Bath and Monkton Combe, and a foot bridge is being replaced between Junctions 13 and 14 of the M5, near Michaelwood Services.
The investment follows a £200 million “essential maintenance” programme, which saw 121 projects financed. These included a selection of road renewal schemes, and over the past 12 months, National Highways says it has resurfaced 172.1 lane miles of motorways and major A-roads in the south-west of England alone.
The organisation also claims to have used more than 220,000 tonnes of resurfacing material and laid almost 85,000 road studs. Almost 50 miles of safety barrier have been replaced in the region, too, and there have been 14 miles of drainage improvements and 36 new bridge joints.
“Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day for work journeys, home deliveries and the movement of the goods and services, so it’s essential we keep them in a good condition to ensure safety and reliability,” said Mark Fox, the interim regional director for National Highways. “With this investment, National Highways will continue to deliver the essential maintenance and upgrades throughout the region to improve safety and help keep drivers on the move.”
A statement from National Highways said the £167 million spend on the south-west of the country would help the area bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
“The government continues its drive to level up transport in regions right across the country,” the statement read, “investing in vital infrastructure and boosting both connections and local economies as we build back better from the pandemic.”