RAC Cars News


Major Overhaul Planned Of The A Road Network In Britain

By raccars Published

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On 1 April this year, the current Highways Agency will be replaced by Highways England, which is planning a major upgrade of the UK's A roads, as its first big project. The scheme will see a new categorisation of road to fit between A roads and motorways, and will effectively create a new network of minor motorways, in the style of European expressways.

The project will see traffic lights and roundabouts removed to modernise and rationalise the network, while maintenance areas and emergency refuges will be introduced. New exclusions could be introduced to keep slow moving vehicles, including tractors and bicycles, off the new highways.

The scheme will be enabled by an investment of £11 billion, and will make use of the most up to date technology, to avoid congestion and clear the roads after accidents or other incidents. Eighteen important routes have been earmarked for the primary stage of the plan and another seven routes are under consideration. Similar schemes are already used in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy and the Netherlands.

The A303 and the A30 from Exeter to the M3 junction in Hampshire are expected to be the first to see action, followed by the A1 above Newcastle, the A14 from Cambridge to Huntingdon, the A556 from the M6 to the M56 in Cheshire, and the A46 between the M1 and the A1 in the East Midlands.

The A38 from Camborne in Cornwall to Exeter is also on the list for improvements, plus the A27 south coast road, the A3 south of Guildford, Surrey, and the A2 from Kent to south east London.

A spokesman for the RAC said the new expressway scheme could improve traffic congestion dramatically on some of Britain's busiest roads, but cautioned that it is important to ensure that finances are fully in place, at the risk of making promises which cannot be fulfilled. The agency is also concerned about how new road rules will apply to motorists on these roads, and is hoping clear national standards will be implemented, before the roads are put into operation.

Drivers in the south east are also set to benefit from £150 million worth of innovation funding, which is to be used to install a roadside wifi network to issue traffic updates. The Department for Transport is hoping the new network could also be used to facilitate advanced technologies, such as car to car and car to infrastructure communications, used by autonomous vehicles to map their surroundings. The network will be provided on the M2, M20, M25 and M26.

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