By Marcus Leach
Communities across England will benefit from £854 million worth of investment in 21 local transport schemes, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said today (Wednesday).
This is in addition to the 20 schemes, worth £574 million, which were announced in the Autumn Statement at the end of last month.
All the projects have been through a stringent assessment process to ensure they offer value for money and are affordable for both the Government and the local area.
“Transport infrastructure is central to growth, and I am announcing funding for a further 21 local major transport schemes. Along with the schemes announced last month we’ve supported investment of over £1.4bn that will strengthen local economies and improve local transport links for communities across the country," Transport Secretary Justine Greening said.
“Almost all journeys begin and end on local authority networks, which provide the crucial links that allow people and businesses to prosper. We are investing in schemes that will provide better access to jobs and services, reduce congestion and enable more goods to move more easily around our country. This will be £1.4bn invested in local communities to build the transport system we need to get the economy back on track.”
In total the schemes announced today are worth over £854m with an overall DfT contribution of £586m. They are:
· Bath Transportation Package. Park and ride site expansions and bus priority measures plus improvements to local bus stops. (£11.7m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £28.6m).
· Beverley Integrated Transport Plan. Construction of 1.8m single carriageway road, a bridge over Hull-Beverley rail line and improvements to roundabouts. (£20.7m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £27.3m).
· Camborne-Pool-Redruth Transport Package. New east — west link road from Camborne to Pool. (£16.1m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £26.8m).
· Chester Road (Birmingham). Widening of Chester Road to a three lane dual carriageway from M6 Jct 5 with bus priority and pedestrian improvements. (£8.3m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £10.5m).
· Coventry-Nuneaton Rail Upgrade (formerly known as NUCKLE). Enhanced rail service and two new stations on the Coventry to Nuneaton railway line. (£9.8m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £18.8m).
· Croxley Rail Link (Watford). Extension of the Metropolitan line from Croxley to Watford Junction mainline station plus two new stations (inc closure of current Watford Met line station). (£76.2m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £115.9m).
· Darlaston (Walsall). Various road improvements including new bridges over the canal and railway, junction improvements, modifications to existing roads to open up development area. (£14.3m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £25.9m).
· Elmbridge Transport (Gloucester). Package of improvements including new Park and Ride site between Cheltenham and Gloucester. (£14.1m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £16.5m).
· Leeds Inner Relief Road Maintenance. Maintenance to Woodhouse Tunnel and other structures on the Inner Ring Road. The final DfT contribution to the scheme is subject to the successful conclusion of various funding agreements between the Leeds City Council, the University of Leeds, the Department of Health and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals who are all liable for some of the works.
· Loughborough Town Centre Transport Scheme. Completion of the remaining section of the Inner Relief Road & upgrading junctions on the existing relief road; and extension of pedestrianised area in the town centre, subject to successful completion of the outstanding statutory procedures. (£14.8m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £16.6m).
· Luton Town Centre Transport Scheme. Package of measures to improve traffic flow around town centre including new link road. (£15.9m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £23.9m).
· Morpeth Northern Bypass. Northern bypass of Morpeth linking with A1 to south east Northumberland. (£21.1m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £30.1m).
· North Fringe to Hengrove BRT (Bristol). Bus rapid transit scheme from the north of the city (inc Bristol Parkway) via the city centre to Hengrove in the South. (£51.1m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £92.9m).
· Nottingham Ring Road. Enhancements to increase capacity at key junctions on the Nottingham Ring Road. (£12.8m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £16.2m).
· Pennine Reach (East Lancs Rapid Transit). Bus enhancements in Blackburn and East Lancashire including bus priority measures. (£31.9m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £39.8m).
· South Yorkshire Bus Rapid Transit Phase 1 (Sheffield/Rotherham). New bus rapid transit from Sheffield along the Don Valley toward Rotherham including a new road link under the M1 (the Tinsley link). (£19.4m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £34.3m).
· Sunderland Strategic Corridor. A new bridge over the River Wear (£82.6m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £117.6m).
· Weston Package. Package of transport improvements in and around Weston Super Mare including improvements to M5 junction, enhancements to Worle station and access improvements to development areas. (£10.4m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £15.0m).
· Worcester Transport Strategy. Package of transport improvements in and around Worcester, including enhancements to Foregate Street and Malvern Link stations. (£14.2m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £19.6m).
· A684 Bedale Bypass. The Department has offered a lower level of funding (£35.9m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £42.1m) to North Yorkshire County Council for this scheme, with a final decision as to whether to accept this offer required of the local council by the end of January 2012.
· Norwich Northern Distributor Road (NNDR). Funding for this scheme is approved subject to Norfolk County Council agreeing to fund a package of sustainable transport measures in the city centre. The new road runs to the East and North of Norwich with a new junction onto the A47 at Postwick (£86.5m DfT contribution towards a total cost of £111.1m).
Projects which will now be considered by the Department in the Spring are;
· Leeds New Generation Transport. The Department has not yet been provided with sufficient evidence with which to assess the value for money of this scheme, as some of the data is relatively new and cannot yet be verified. However, the Department recognises that a strong strategic case has been made and so has given the promoters until 31 March 2012 to update their business case. A decision will be made within two months of that.
· SERT (South Essex Rapid Transit). The Department has not yet been provided with sufficient evidence with which to assess the value for money of this scheme and has given the promoters until 31 March 2012 to update their business case. A decision will be made within two months of that.
· Waverley Link Road. The Waverley Link Road proposed by Rotherham Borough Council is opposed in its current form by Sheffield City Council, whose land is required for the proposed route. The Department recognises that there is a case for additional capacity in this area but the currently proposed scheme does not appear to be deliverable. Rotherham Borough Council are invited to work with Sheffield and other stakeholders and to propose a resolution to the issue by 31 March 2012.
· Bexhill — Hastings Link Road Ministers recognise the critically important role that transport improvements could play in the regeneration of the Bexhill — Hastings area and the economic case underpinning the Bexhill — Hastings Link Road, though they are also aware of concerns regarding the proposed scheme, including its environmental impact. Before Ministers take a final decision on the scheme they want to be sure that it offers the best approach for regenerating the area and also to consider other transport options to achieve this, including local trunk roads such as the A21, A259 and local rail. They also want to consider whether further environmental mitigation measures could be deployed to address the impacts of the proposed Bexhill-Hastings scheme. Over the next three months the Department will work alongside the scheme’s promoters and other local and regional partners to gather further evidence on the optimal solution for the area. The Department would intend to make a decision swiftly thereafter.
The Department also today confirmed the individual allocations to local transport authorities of the £50m top-up to the Integrated Transport Block grant announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement. The top-up will be allocated in accordance with the formula for the Integrated Transport Block grant.
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