The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) East Midlands welcomes the news that roads in the region are set to receive improvements to reduce congestion and boost local economies.
The Highways Agency was yesterday awarded £18.5 million in funding to carry out the works on eight schemes across the country.
Those set to benefit in the East Midlands are:
- M1 Junction 21, Leicester – an extra lane will be added on the southbound exit slip road. An additional lane will also be added to the M69 mainline exit. The additional sliproad lane is very welcome as it will reduce queuing in lane 1 to exit the motoway which at times interacts with the exit from Leicester Forest Services
- A38 Markeaton Roundabout, Derby – signals will be installed at the junction and the southbound lane of the A38 will be widened as it approaches the junction along with the southbound section of the roundabout itself. This is welcome becase This is a difficult junction to negotiate in rush hours. It can become 'locked' for northbound traffic which can queue back to the previous A5111 junction
- A38 Little Eaton Roundabout, Derby - existing traffic signals will run full-time and the A38 northbound lanes will be widened. The A61 will also be widened as it joins the junction and the B6179 arm moved. Part-time signals have helped this junction and conversion to full-time is sensible as the periods of congestion extend. A widened A38 northbound approach and roundabout section will allow 2 lanes to flow up the A38 and the third lane to turn into the A61.
ICE East Midlands has long called for improvements to infrastructure: lack of investment has held back development of much needed transport infrastructure and cumbersome planning procedures mean that the delivery of transport schemes are often heavily delayed.
In publishing our State of the Nation report on the region’s infrastructure in 2010, ICE East Midlands outlined that the main priorities for the region: to reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.
A well maintained infrastructure network is vital to the economic well-being of the region: without investment in infrastructure systems, it is not possible for our economy to grow successfully and sustainably without robust transport links.
ICE’s Low carbon Trajectory, Building a Sustainable Future, identified that measures such as these will reduce carbon emissions by reducing congestion and allowing drivers to travel at a constant speed (vehicles emit more carbon when stopping and starting frequently).
This funding forms the first stage of the government’s growth initiative in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Having identified severe cause for concern in the next five years in the region’s transport systems, ICE East Midlands is calling for the government to grant further investment when the main programme of funding is announced later in the year.
John Parry, Chairman of the ICE East Midlands Transport Professional Interest Network commented: “These junction improvements will reduce increasing congestion at these major highway interchanges at a time when improved network efficiency will play an important part in economic recovery.
“The A38 schemes have been in several capital programmes since the 1980s and are well overdue particularly to reduce severe congestion and too many traffic accidents at these vulnerable locations. I hope that the full scheme of separating the Derby Junctions will be given funding at the next Comprehensive Spending Review in 2014.”