National Highways has announced it’ll spend £103 million on a package of renewals and improvements on roads, paths and bridges across the South West region during the current financial year.
The government-owned company says the investment will create safer and smoother journeys for millions of road users on motorways and A roads across the region. Plans for renewals include road resurfacing, bridge refurbishments, motorway safety barrier upgrades, bridge joint replacements, improved signage and drainage and renewal of traffic lights.
The Renewals capital spend covers 75 schemes across the region – some of them already under way and over a network totalling 794 carriageway miles, covering Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Minister for Roads, Richard Holden said: “Over the next year, the South West will see over £100 million for maintaining, repairing and improving its roads. This substantial investment will ensure communities from Cornwall to Wiltshire are better connected, as we grow the economy, and drivers enjoy safe and reliable journeys.”
Jason Hones, National Highways’ South West Regional Director, said: “It’s vital that National Highways’ motorways and A-roads are kept in good condition to make sure they remain safe, reliable and keep the South West moving.
“This investment will help us achieve the ambitious plans we have for our roads, the communities we serve and the environment.
“Hundreds of thousands of drivers use our roads every day for work journeys, home deliveries and the movement of goods and services, so it’s essential we continue to deliver the essential maintenance and upgrades throughout the region to keep them in a good condition to ensure safety and reliability.”
Among its comprehensive programme of renewals and improvements for 2023/204, National Highways is working to:
- Refurbish the decks of the M5 junction 15 and 16 bridges at the Almondsbury Interchange;
- Repair and refurbish the M5 Bamfurlong Lane bridge near Cheltenham;
- Refurbish structures at junctions 24 and 25 of the M5;
- Start a technology upgrade in the A38 Saltash Tunnel;
- Upgrade lighting to LED units along the M4, M5, M49 and A303;
- Repair retaining walls on the A36 at Dundas, near Bath;
- Stabilise a landslip alongside the A35 at Chideock.
In addition to the maintenance and renewals investment, around £5.5 million of funding will be spent on environmental and biodiversity projects and facilities for cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians.
It adds that in this area has already seen biodiversity benefits brought to the roadside verges of the A35 in Dorset, the M4 in Wiltshire and the A46 in Bath & North East Somerset, fish passes installed alongside the A38 in Devon, and funding for new cycling and walking routes in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
In the South West alone, National Highways looks after:
- 1,972 structures (including the two Severn Bridges, the Avonmouth Bridge, Wynhol, Exe and Exminster Viaducts, Saltash Tunnel, culverts etc)
- 808 miles of safety barrier
- 540 miles of fencing, environmental barriers and walls;
- 20,363 signs;
- 4,775 road studs.
And in the region over the past 12 months, National Highways’ investment has provided safer and smoother journeys by:
- Resurfacing 217 lane miles;
- Laying 28,500 tonnes of resurfacing material;
- Installing 138 new LED lighting heads;
- Installing 78,533 road studs;
- Renewing 25 miles of safety barrier;
- Improving 7.2 miles of drainage to reduce carriageway flooding;
- Installing 6 new bridge expansion joints.
In addition to the renewals programme, National Highways is also upgrading nine miles of the A30 to dual carriageway between Chiverton and Carland Cross in Cornwall, dualling three miles of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester in Somerset and will start work later this year on the Missing Link scheme in Gloucestershire – a project that will improve the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley, and links between the M4 and M5.
(Picture from National Highways shows Wildflowers in bloom alongside the A35 in Dorset thanks to a designated funded landscaping scheme following drainage schemes near Dorchester)