Transport for North in £700m road improvement bid

Transport for the North said on Wednesday it has submitted a bid for £700 million of investment in the region’s roads over the next five years as part of the National Roads Fund.

The bid aims to “unlock economic growth, deliver new homes, increase active travel, and improve public transport.”

The announcement comes a week after Northern leaders launched a call for Government to commit to three ‘asks’ as part of a ‘Northern Budget’ in the UK Government’s Autumn Spending Round.

These are for: £7 billion to fund a Northern Infrastructure Pipeline of road and rail projects that could begin in the next five years, £39 billion for the whole Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme, and £1 billion for Transport for the North for the next three years.

As the sub-national transport body for the region, Transport for the North has submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) a proposal of 16 road projects which it says must be funded as part of the National Roads Fund (NRF) for 2020-2025.

The bid was made in collaboration with its 20 Local Transport Authority Members, and 50 Highway Authorities.

“These are economically important roads which urgently need improvements to ensure they are part of a sustainable and strategic transport network that can support the region’s growth,” said Transport for the North.

“Within the bid are 12 Major Road Network (MRN) and 4 Large Local Major (LLM) schemes that could be on site or completed by 2025 – the need is clear, local funding is available, and plans are in place.

“Each scheme in the Transport for the North shortlist is of fundamental local importance, and will also bring benefits more widely by enabling multi-modal journeys and opening up new routes.

“A particular issue is the lack of East-West connectivity, with only one dual carriageway running across the country between Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow.”

Peter Molyneux, Major Roads Director at Transport for the North, said: “Almost all journeys start and finish on local roads and they play a major part in everyone’s life, whether as a pedestrian, cyclist, bus passenger, freight operator, driver or passenger.

“We all rely on a well-functioning network to access jobs, goods and services so investment in roads is not just about new tarmac – it has much wider benefits for everyday life.

“Years of underinvestment in road networks across the North has resulted in slow journey times and poor reliability.

“With more than 80% of commuting trips and 87% of freight movements using the road network in the North, our people and businesses are being held back – which is why our leaders are calling for a commitment to road and rail projects as part of a Northern Budget.

“Funding these economically important roads, as part of a collaborative and multi-modal proposal based on clear evidence of need and expected benefits, should be done now.

“Alongside public transport improvements and investment in decarbonisation, this will enable roads to play a sustainable role in our transport network for the future.

“Investment in our roads will complement the improvements in rail and ticketing to make the North better connected and improve opportunities for all.”

The MRN schemes are:

• A595 Improvement Scheme (Bothel) – Cumbria County Council
• A1079 Improvement Scheme – East Riding Council
• A582 Dualling – Lancashire County Council
• Blyth Relief Road – North of Tyne Combined Authority/North East Combined Authority
• Durham Northern Relief Road – North of Tyne Combined Authority/North East Combined Authority
• Sunderland Transport Corridor – North of Tyne Combined Authority/North East Combined Authority
• Tyne Bridge & Central M’way – North of Tyne Combined Authority/North East Combined Authority
• Shalesmoor Gateway – Sheffield City Region
• A689 Corridor Improvements – Tees Valley Combined Authority
• A34 Cheadle – Greater Manchester Combined Authority
• A650 Tong Street – West Yorkshire Combined Authority
• Dawsons Corner Jct & Stanningley Bypass – West Yorkshire Combined Authority

The LLM schemes are:
• Kendal Northern Access Route – Cumbria County Council
• The Rocket Junction – Liverpool City Council
• Wigan East-West – Greater Manchester Combined Authority
• A1237 Dualling (Phase 2) – City of York Council

In addition, there are four LLM schemes already under consideration by the DfT from previous rounds of funding and two early-win MRNs that have been announced but are not yet in the construction pipeline.

• The Second River Tees Crossing – Tees Valley Combined Authority
• Darlington Northern Link Road – Tees Valley Combined Authority
• Sheffield Innovation Corridor – Sheffield City Region
• A500 Dualling Crewe to M6 – Cheshire East Council

• A1237 Dualling (Phase 1) – York City Council
• Grizebeck Bypass – Cumbria County Council