The introduction of route-based strategies was a key recommendation of Alan Cook’s report A Fresh Start for the Strategic Road Network, published in November 2011.
The idea is that the Highways Agency and the Department for Transport will be better able to prioritise operational, maintenance and improvement schemes, helping to inform investment plans for the next full spending review in 2015.
As recommended, the strategies have been developed in collaboration with local authorities and local enterprise partnerships. The first three focus on the A1 west of Newcastle, the A12 in Essex and the M62 between Manchester and Leeds. These were chosen first as they provide a range of different geographical scales and challenges, the Highways Agency said.
The same approach is to be adopted across the rest of the strategic road network, with strategies being produced for all routes by spring 2014. The evidence gathered from the strategies will allow a network-wide assessment of problems and challenges, according to the Highways Agency.
Roads minister Stephen Hammond said: “Our motorways and trunk roads play a vital role in the economic prosperity of this country. That is why are implementing a smarter, more robust approach to identifying, prioritising and planning where vital investment is needed on our roads.
“I am confident the evidence that we will gather will enable us to develop longer term investment plans that better balance national and local priorities, allowing us to invest in improvements where they will have the greatest impact.”