New Bill is set to transform roads

MP John Hayes at the the Highways Agency's east regional control centre on the the M25.
MP John Hayes at the the Highways Agency's east regional control centre on the the M25.
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The “biggest piece of government legislation in recent times” is set to transform our roads and make long journeys to and from South Holland a pleasure.

A new nationwide infrastructure Bill will underline “more money is being invested into roads than any period in modern times” - according to the new Minister for Transport, MP John Hayes.

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian after a fact-finding mission to the Highways Agency’s east regional control centre on the M25 to see for himself how new ‘all lane running’ motorways are working, he described his involvement with the Bill as “an honour”.

He said: “We are looking at a range of projects. The new bypass to Peterborough and further improvement of the A1 is making journeys to and from the south safer and easier.

“Whether this will mean South Holland will become a commuter area has yet to be seen.

“But improvements on the road and the investment in the rail system has got to be good news for the area.

“I use the trains and my journeys are now a positive pleasure. Kings Cross station, with its shops and cafes, have been transformed - once you would be lucky if you had a newstand.”

Road users will see around 900 extra lane miles of road capacity added to England’s strategic highway network by 2021 – a third more than was provided in the previous decade.

The boost is thanks to a huge £24 billion investment – the biggest since the 1970s – which will see annual funding for enhancements to our motorways and major A roads triple over the next six years. Investment includes more than £9 billion on maintenance, £6 billion of which will be spent on resurfacing 3,000 miles of the strategic road network.

The regional control centre directs nearly 200 traffic officers across nearly 400 miles of motorway and trunk roads, including stretches of the M1, M25, M4, M40, M11, A1(M) and A14.

The schemes use dozens of cameras and roadside sensors to monitor traffic flow and allow staff to respond quickly to any incident, while message boards on overhead gantries can close lanes swiftly to respond to any incidents and keep drivers safe.

The three M25 schemes total £317m of investment. All-lane running between junctions 23 and 25 and junctions 5 and 7 opened to traffic in April, while work on a third scheme between junctions 25 to 27 is due to be completed this winter.

John Hayes said: “It is impressive to see how technology can transform a road network, providing a service the public can better rely on, and to see for myself the work of the control room and the expertise of the personnel whose dedicated efforts make journeys safer and roads more efficient.

“The Government has committed a record £1.7 billion investment to infrastructure in the south east to add an additional 145 lane miles of capacity by 2021. This will help keep our country moving and continue to boost our economy.”

However, residents who called for Mr Hayes to campaign for an extension of the M11 to run through South Holland will be disappointed. He said: “The government is not looking at this. It’s less likely than me becoming an astronaut.”