The government’s consultation for Road Investment Strategy 2 has now ended, and feedback is being analysed.
It will help to form the proposals for the Strategic Road Network (SRN) and shape the current and future needs of England’s roads.
The consultation ran from December until the first week of February, in order for the Department for Transport (DfT) to gain the views set out for Road Investment Strategy in the initial SRN report; whether or not the analysis of approach for developing the new strategy is robust enough; and whether or not the government has heard the full range of views about the SRN.
The initial report, from which consultation was sought, set out Highways England’s assessment of the state of the SRN as it currently stands, the potential and future needs, and proposed priorities for Road Investment Strategy 2.
It is based on extensive research, and will form the basis of the next five-year spell of investment on the roads.
Since the inception of Highways England in 2015, the first Road Investment Strategy – worth £15 billion – has made great strides in upgrading our roads, which identified 127 major schemes to start in the period between 2015 to 2020.
Road Investment Strategy 2 will focus on the five years from 2020, continuing the trend of improvements thanks to a greater investment, which is expected to be close to £30 billion.
Highways England has set out its priorities for the next investment strategy period in the initial SRN report.
Priorities include a continuation of the focus on operations, maintenance and renewals; the rollout of expressways; the transformational investments that are required; an investment programme that only concentrates on large projects – instead, a split in focus so that small and medium schemes are given priority.
The government-owned company will also ramp up the work on smart motorways, with the aim to make these “the spine of the network.”
Already, we have seen many major projects roll out the use of smart motorways, with the M60 in Manchester, and M62 in Yorkshire just two of the major roads benefiting from this type of motorway that reduces journey times and congestion.
This is to continue as Highways England prepare for the future, and the response to the DfT’s public consultation on this report will be published later in the year, informing on the next steps for Road Investment Strategy 2.