The government has this week announced a huge £15bn investment in the UK’s road network.
The initiative, which includes all roads spending until 2021, encompasses 84 new projects. The news has been described by ministers as the most far-reaching road improvement scheme for decades.
Major transport links will be the focus of much of the spending, with junctions on the M25, the A1 in the north-east and motorways surrounding Manchester and Liverpool all set to receive attention.
The announcement comes as the RAC Foundation estimates that the UK’s transport infrastructure will be placed under enormous strain in the coming years, with the total number of road users expected to rise by seven million to 43 million within the next 20 years.
The most ambitious project announced is a proposal to turn the A303 into a main link to the south-west, including the construction of a 1.8-mile tunnel under the protected historic site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The £2bn scheme will see motorists able to drive on a dual carriageway from London to within 15 miles of Land’s End – vastly improving the current route, which is subject to huge tailbacks, particularly during the holiday season.
Around £1.5bn is to be spent on widening motorways around the country, adding ‘smart lanes’ to improve traffic flow around major cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester.
While such a substantial investment has largely been welcomed, conservationists have expressed concerns over the proposed tunnel under Stonehenge, which is a world heritage site. However, the Department for Transport has said that the plans are in the conceptual stages and would have to undergo a lengthy consultation process before being given the green light.
Do you travel on the A303? Would traffic flow in the area benefit from a tunnel under Stonehenge? Have your say in the comments section below.