Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News: Green light for A57 improvements


Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has announced the go-ahead for 24 transport schemes including improvements to the A57 between the M1 and Todwick in Rotherham.

Subject to statutory processes, a scheme to ease congestion on the M1 between junctions 32 – 35a using dynamic hard shoulder running was also given the green light along with a scheme announced in the Spending Review designed to improve the access to Sheffield using managed motorways technology at junctions 28 - 31.

In addition, the Transport Secretary announced a pot of over £600m of funding for further local authority projects. Local authorities will be invited to bid for this funding over the next few months. Councils will be challenged to consider the cost, scope and possibility of local funding when bidding.

In June, the Government suspended all major transport schemes not already under contract and the level of funding required for schemes already under construction is such that it is unlikely that any new schemes will be able to begin construction before 2012/13.

The Todwick scheme is in the "supported group" - having been confirmed, subject to a best and final offer from local authorities and funding will be confirmed in January 2011.

Planning permission for the £12m scheme was secured in 2009 for a dual carriageway between Junction 31 of the M1 and Todwick Crossroads with a new roundabout replacing the existing crossroads.

A "development group" of projects are invited to bid for a share of the £600m pot and includes the Waverley Link Road. Final decisions will be made by the end of 2011.

A "pre-qualification group" includes schemes which either need updated appraisal or have not yet been fully evaluated. This group includes the Northern route of the South Yorkshire Bus Rapid Transit scheme that aims to improve the links between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Philip Hammond said: "Whilst we have had to make some tough choices, I am pleased that spending on transport was treated as a priority for the Government in the Spending Review.

"Taken together, this investment will not only bring benefits in terms of reduced congestion, shorter journey times and more efficient public transport, but also provide a vital economic boost.

"For every pound we spend on Highways Agency schemes, on average we will get back £6 of benefits and in many cases there are even higher returns for local authority schemes."

DFT website


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