Highways England could cancel up to six multi-million-pound road improvement projects after deciding to revise its £15bn Road Investment Strategy (RIS).
In its updated delivery plan, Highways England confirmed that six schemes (see box) initially scheduled to start before 2020 will now be paused for further review and consideration as part of future RIS plans.
The updated plan also revealed that a further 16 schemes (see box) would be delayed by between three months and two years in a bid to minimise congestion, while improvements take place.
Two other schemes – the M5 junction improvements at Bridgwater and improvements to A50 in Uttoxeter – will also be pushed into Highways England’s next funding period, RIS2, between 2020 and 2025.
Despite several projects being delayed, the revised plan includes 10 projects that have been brought forward.
These include work on the M4’s Heathrow slip roads, as well as smart motorways projects on the M6 between Warrington and Liverpool and M56 near Manchester Airport.
Six road schemes paused for further review
- A1 & A19 technology enhancements
- M11 junctions 8 to 14 technology upgrade
- A12 whole-route technology upgrade
- M53 junctions 5-11 smart motorway
- A14 junction 10a
- M62/ M606 chain bar
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said the update represented “a sensible and responsible way to deliver roads investment”.
“It will keep our roads moving, deliver a lasting legacy for the country and ensure best value for money for the taxpayer,” he said.
Earlier this year a review of Highways England’s RIS by the National Audit Office found that at least 16 projects posed a risk to value for money, while also raising fears about the timetabling of works.
The report found that Highways England had already developed options to push back the start dates of 19 projects into the early years of RIS2.
At the time, Highways England said it had no plans to cancel any of the schemes listed in the RIS programme.
When RIS was launched back in December 2014, Highways England laid out plans to start work on 112 programme enhancement projects before the end of the funding period in March 2020.
So far the roads agency has delivered 18 projects under the RIS, representing 306 km of extra capacity on the roads.
16 road schemes delayed by up to two years
- A5 Dodwells to Longshoot widening
- M3 junction 9 improvement
- A31 Ringwood
- M27 junctions 4-11
- A47 North Tuddenham to Easton
- A47 Blofield to North Burlingham dualling
- M25 junction 25 improvement
- M25 junction 28 improvement
- A1 Birtley to Coal House
- M60 junctions 24-27 and junction 1-4 smart motorway
- A47/A11 Thickthorn
- A47 Wansford to Sutton
- A47 Guyhirn Junction
- A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening
- M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange
- M25 junctions 10-16