Thousands of miles of new roads will have to be built by the government to cope with the effects of bottlenecks, population growth and ambitious new housebuilding targets, an authoritative study has concluded.
Much of the demand for expansion will be in the South East of England, and there will be a need for ‘significant’ roadbuilding in the Midlands and East Anglia, says the report for the RAC Foundation, which is due to be published at the beginning of next month. The key findings, confirmed to The Observer, will alarm the countryside and environmental lobbies, as well as transport policy reform activists.
Safety groups today expressed concern about plans for vehicles to use motorway hard shoulders to ease congestion.
A Highways Agency pilot scheme in which drivers can drive on the hard shoulder during peak times is to start on an 11-mile stretch of the M42 near Birmingham on September 12.
If successful, it could lead to hard shoulder driving being introduced on other motorways as a cheaper alternative to lane-widening schemes.
However, the national road safety charity Brake said today that rather than being money-saving, the scheme could be life-threatening.
MORE than £1 billion has been wasted by the Government on transport projects that have been cancelled or delayed, leaving roads and railways struggling to cope with huge growth in traffic.
A dozen infrastructure schemes designed to ease congestion and overcrowding have been either abandoned or postponed until well into the next decade, according to an analysis of Department for Transport figures.
The only major addition to the capacity of the network ordered in the past ten years has been an extra lane on the M25, and even this is not due to be completed until 2016.
The Government has repeatedly claimed that rising costs have made new road links, tram networks and rail upgrades unaffordable.
But official figures uncovered by the Conservatives reveal that more than £1 billion has already been spent since 2000 without providing any extra capacity.
Dozens of transport improvements promised by the Government when it first came to power have been quietly ditched, the Conservatives claimed yesterday.
With Labour halfway through implementing a 10-year plan of infrastructure investment, Labour ministers were accused of failing to deliver on many of the pledges contained in their £65 billion investment plan.
Most of the pledges were made by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, at the start of Labour’s term in office and the priorities have been changed as transport secretaries have come and gone.