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Thu April 22 2021

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Highways England sets out southeast plans

25 Sep 15 Highways England met with contractors and suppliers yesterday (Thursday 24 September) to brief them on its plans to invest £2.2bn on network improvements over the next five years.

The briefing set out how work will start on 24 new major projects by 2020, in addition to upgrades already underway on the M3, A21 and M25 at junction 30.

Highways England also wants to make the roads safer and is aiming for a 40% reduction in road casualties by 2020.

Major upgrades that will begin in the South East over the next five years include:

  • enhancing capacity on the M3 between Winchester and Southampton
  • enhancing capacity on the M27 between Southampton and Fareham
  • upgrading the M20 near Maidstone to a smart motorway
  • upgrading the M4 to a smart motorway between Reading and the M25
  • addressing congestion on the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury
  • upgrading the A27 in Sussex
  • improving junctions on the A2 near Bean and Ebbslfeet
  • improving the A34 between the M4 and M40
  • increasing capacity on the M2 between Sittingbourne and Maidstone
  • improving junctions on the M3 near Winchester
  • improving the M27 and M271 near Southampton
  • tackling delays on the A31 near Ringwood in Hampshire
  • improving access to the A12 and A3 from the M25
  • upgrading the M25 to the latest generation of smart motorway, with five lanes between the M40 and Chertsey.

Long-standing plans for a Lower Thames Crossing are still not yet able to get off the drawing board however, and remain stuck in the development stage.

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Maintaining the existing network is also a priority, with £200m being invested in maintenance this year. More than 18,716 metres of safety barrier and fencing will be replaced or maintained along with nearly 7,070 road lights.

Simon Jones, south east regional director at Highways England, said: “We’re delivering £2.2bn investment in improvements to the southeast’s motorways and major A roads over the next five years. That includes nearly 150 miles of extra lanes, new junctions, and measures to tackle congestion, benefitting businesses, local residents and road users as well as delivering a fourfold return on investment for the UK economy.

“It’s vital that we continue to improve the existing road network as well, which is why we’re investing over £200m this year alone in resurfacing, improving technology and safety measures and other maintenance projects.”

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