More traffic jams predicted for the year 2019 across Britain
Numerous extensive roadwork projects set for 2019 under the Government’s £11.4bn upgrade plan
More traffic jams have been predicted for the year 2019 across Britain, as numerous extensive roadwork projects are set to start, warns the Whitehall spending watchdog.
According to a damning report by the National Audit Office (NAO), the Government’s £11.4bn road upgrade programme was badly planned, claiming that 16 proposals could be rejected as they don’t embody value for money.
The National Audit Office believes that the Department for Transport (DfT) have rushed their road improvement programme just to enable it to be published ahead of the May 2015 general election.
This has meant that the DfT have chosen projects “without knowing whether they would be best value”, after failing to carry out accurate analysis.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has said that congestion on roads throughout Britain is harming the economy and causing disruption for millions of commuters on a daily basis.
The NAO believe that bad planning could lead to significant disruption for motorists, as 54 of the 112 projects are set to begin in 2019/2020.
The five-year Road Investment Strategy was announced back in 2014 and features 112 major roadwork schemes, set to begin 2015-2020. Improvements include smart motorway upgrades, turning single carriageway A-roads into dual carriageways, electronic signage, CCTV cameras on specific motorway areas and emergency roadside telephones, with plans to also build a tunnel at Stonehenge.
According to the NAO, government-owned Highways England, who are responsible for maintenance and improvements on major roads in the UK, have spoken of 16 projects that might have to be delayed, cancelled or rethought but neither Highways England nor the DfT have acknowledged which projects these are.
The NAO also warned that Highways England will struggle to complete all the projects, as they don’t have enough staff and will have to bring in consultants, which will inevitably cost much more.
They propose that the Government should look at delaying, or cancelling any new projects.
The road improvement programme is presently forecast to end up £841million over budget.
“This Government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future, and we are investing a record £15 billion on road schemes which will cut congestion, speed up journeys, and boost the economy across the country,” said a DfT spokesman.
Chief Executive of Highways England, Jim O’Sullivan said: “We are confident we will deliver our capital programme without overspending our budget.”
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