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£170 million road boost

The Highways Agency is to deliver 57 vital road improvements to boost the economy, reduce congestion and improve safety, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced.

The £170 million investment is part of a £217 million programme to remove bottlenecks and keep traffic moving on England’s motorways and major A roads. The economic benefit of these 57 schemes is estimated at around £3 billion.

Many of the improvements will be delivered in 2013 and 2014, and they will all be completed by March 2015. Today’s announcement brings the total number of schemes to receive investment from the government’s pinch point fund to 65. A third stage of projects will be announced next year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These £217 million road improvements prove the government’s determination to accelerate growth and cut congestion.

“Keeping traffic moving is vital to securing prosperity. By removing bottlenecks and improving access to local enterprise zones, key international trading ports and communities, these road schemes will help get people to and from work and power the economy. They also have the potential to help deliver more than 300,000 new jobs and 150,000 new homes.”

The improvements include an £11 million scheme to widen and improve junction 4 of the M5 near Bromsgrove, with significant benefits for Longbridge, former home of the MG Rover manufacturing plant. It will support a local authority and local enterprise partnership development plan that aims to create around 10,000 jobs and 3,000 homes in the region.

At junction 5 of the M27, near Eastleigh, a £4.9 million scheme will reduce congestion by widening approach roads and slips roads and providing a segregated left turn lane onto the M27 eastbound. This supports several local development plans, including Solent Enterprise Zone, Eastleigh Riverside, Southampton Airport and Southampton City Centre, with the potential to create around 12,000 jobs and 7,000 homes.

These improvement schemes form part of the government’s growth initiative outlined during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November 2011. Funds have been allocated to the Highways Agency to undertake focused improvements to the strategic road network.

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